DOJ urged to drop cases vs political prisoner with baby
Human rights group Karapatan on Monday urged Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to drop all charges against a political prisoner languishing in jail with her baby at Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig.
The prisoner, Maria Miracle Torres, is facing murder and frustrated murder cases and has been in jail since June last year. She gave birth last November and has since been taking care of the baby in jail.
Karapatan-Southern Tagalog deputy secretary general Gil Sediarin said the charges against Torres were merely trumped-up.
The group said if the immediate release is not possible, at least, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) should give Torres a proper facility so she can take care of her seven-month-old son.
Torres’ bid for hospitalization was dismissed by the court.
“Torres and her baby have been suffering so much for the crimes that they did not commit. They have been in a miserable condition for almost a year now inside a congested jail that doesn’t even comply to the standard size of a prison cell and with other inmates who have contagious diseases,’’ Sediarin said.
‘’What we are fighting for aside from their immediate release is the right of a breastfeeding political prisoner as stipulated in United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders,” he added.
Torres was arrested on June 20, 2014, in Lucena City, Quezon province. She was then four months pregnant. She had a threatened abortion and was advised by her doctor to get bed rest.
However, she was immediately transferred from Quezon Province to Taguig City. She had a series of bleeding while in detention and was confined at Taguig Hospital months before giving birth. She gave birth at the Philippine General Hospital on Nov. 19, 2014.
Torres was transferred back to Taguig upon orders by the Regional Trial Court Branch 65 of Infanta, Quezon.
When she returned to jail, Karapatan said inmates jeered at the child, calling it “Batang City Jail.” AU
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