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Document details torture of suspected Abu Sayyaf member

/ 08:54 PM August 02, 2011

DAVAO CITY, Philippines — He was stripped naked and gasoline was poured all over his body, even into his ears. His interrogators  rubbed and stuffed his anus with red chili, after which a bottle full of gasoline was also forced into it. Then his captors set him on fire.

This was how Abdul Khan Ajid, a suspected member of the Abu Sayyaf arrested by the members of Task Force Basilan, suffered while under the custody of the military after he was taken from his home in Barangay Libug  in Sumisip, Basilan, early morning of July 23.

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This account was contained in a fact sheet obtained by the Inquirer that detailed the suffering of Ajid while under the custody of the Army Scout Rangers under the command of Colonel Alexander Macario, the Task Force Basilan chief. The documentation was done by the staff of the Mindanao People’s Caucus (MPC) and the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines through interviews with the sister and wife of Ajid.

Photos of Ajid also showed his injuries— his face badly beaten and burned. The photos also showed that the victim suffered severe burns on his chest and stomach. The fact sheet also said that his genitals were not spared.

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According to the fact sheet, the photos were taken when Ajid’s family finally found him at the Basilan Provincial Jail on July 27 or four days after he was taken from his home, allegedly illegally. Before this, Ajid was reported missing. A petition for a writ of habeas corpus was filed by lawyer Rey Bongabong and Judge Leo Prinsipe of the Regional Trial Court of Basilan issued the writ and had it delivered to the military camp.

An hour after receipt of the writ, the family was informed that Ajid had been already delivered by the soldiers to the Provincial Jail in Isabela as he was facing charges of kidnapping,  being an alleged member of the Abu Sayyaf, the fact sheet said.

Ajid was suspected of being a member of the Abu Sayyaf and of being involved in the Lamitan siege of 2001.

On the morning when he was taken, according to the document, his wife recalled that Ajid was preparing dough before the soldiers arrived. Immediately, Ajid was pinned on their floor while soldiers searched the house for guns. The incident was also witnessed by Ajid’s two children—a 15-year old boy and a 10-year old girl.

Four soldiers, including a junior officer of the Army’s elite force Scout Rangers, have been placed under technical arrest following the torture of Ajid.

The Mindanao People’s Caucus, in a statement, said the case of Ajid only shows that the Armed Forces of the Philippines continues to practice torture as a way to extract information from suspects.

The MPC’s Carlo Cleofe  said the torture of Ajid “shows that the use of torture and or cruel, inhumane, and unjust punishment to extract information or confessions during interrogation is a still widespread practice.”

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The group also cited the case of Lamitan resident Asrap Musa, a 17-year-old B.S. Education student, who was arrested and tortured allegedly by the military in late June. The soldiers wanted Musa to tell them about the location of his relatives who were also suspected of being members of Abu Sayyaf, the MPC said.

Musa, a minor, was supposed to have been turned over to the Department of Social Welfare and Development, according to Cleofe.

“It also shows that while the Mr. Aquino is extolling the values of having a government that walks in the straight and righteous path, the armed forces under his command are still operating with impunity and with utter disregard for the rule of law and for human rights and human dignity,” he added.

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TAGS: abu sayyaf, Human rights, Military, Moro Insurgency, news, Terrorism, torture
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