Nasino’s 21-day quarantine is like being put in ‘bartolina’ – Kapatid
MANILA, Philippines — Putting detained activitist Reina Mae Nasino under 21-day quarantine is like giving her “bartolina” punishment, as solitary confinement is commonly known in Filipino.
Kapatid, a group composed of political prisoners’ relatives, made that observation in a statement issued on Wednesday as it questioned the length of the quarantine.
“Why is Reina Mae being isolated for 21 days when the WHO [World Health Organization] and DOH [Department of Health] guideline for COVID-19 quarantine is only 14 days?” Kapatid spokesperson Fides Lim said. “This is like putting her through the bartolina, which is a form of punishment when an inmate is placed in close confinement.”
“The United Nations considers solitary confinement exceeding 15 days to be torture,” she added.
Nasino, who’s facing a case of illegal possession of firearms and explosives, was allowed to get out of jail on Oct. 16 to attend the wake and burial of her three-month-old daughter River.
Lim said Kapatid members were worried about the conditions of Nasino’s quarantine, as she was not allowed to have visitors.
They were also wary that she might develop psychological conditions given the things she had gone through recently.
“We are deeply concerned with the information relayed by Reina Mae to her mother Marites during the burial about the 21-day quarantine wherein she will be all alone. This is too long and very worrying,” Lim said. “We can’t directly ascertain her condition since visits are still disallowed because of the continuing prison lockdown due to the pandemic.”
Nasino was one of the several activists arrested in 2019 during search operations of the offices of various nongovernment organizations. She did not know then that she was already one month pregnant.
She gave birth to River last July. The court denied her request to either be freed temporarily or to allow River to stay at the Manila City Jail with her so that she could take care of her.
Nasino’s case garnered attention after her camp tried to plead with the court to allow her to visit her sick child, who displayed COVID-19 symptoms.
River died at the intensive care unit of the Philippine General Hospital without the court acting on her request.
River’s burial was marred by the presence of personnel from the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and the Philippine National Police who reportedly interfered with the family’s preferences in burying the child.
During the funeral march, the law enforcers instructed the hearse driver to speed up, leaving the mourners behind.
Then the court shortened the Nasino’s furlough.
Lim made an appeal to the authorities.
“Reina Mae Nasino has already gone through a lot of distress that no one should be made to suffer. Yet we fear that reprisals may be made on her when what she needs now is psychological support not prolonged isolation that can exacerbate anxiety and depression,” Lim said.
“After all that she has gone through, she should be released from prison, even if conditionally, as a matter of justice,” she added.
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