Karapatan welcomes Duterte’s plan to release political prisoners
Human rights group Karapatan on Wednesday said it welcomes presumptive President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s plan to release political prisoners.
Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said a general, unconditional and omnibus amnesty will benefit 543 documented political prisoners.
READ: General amnesty for Reds
“This will partly give justice to the political prisoners, whose rights were violated,” she said in a statement.
Duterte reportedly told the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and Congress’ Makabayan bloc that he is considering granting general amnesty to all political prisoners to contribute to the peace process.
Palabay insisted that there should be no conditions for the release of the prisoners, who are mostly “detained based on trumped-up criminal charges.”
“There should be no set conditions on the release of political prisoners, especially the obligation to admit guilt because the political prisoners did not commit the crimes charged against them,” she said.
Palabay said the prisoners, 18 of whom are NDFP peace consultants, were charged with common crimes for their political activities.
Some were charged with arson, murder, frustrated murder and other similar crimes.
Of the 543 political prisoners, 88 need proper medical treatment while 48 are elderly.
Palabay added that many of the prisoners’ rights were violated even with the GPH (Government of the Philippines)-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on the Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL) and the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG). RAM
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