Rights activist back in Manila after ‘illegal arrest’ in US
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Human rights activist Jerome Aba arrived in Manila on Friday after having been released by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) authorities at the San Francisco International Airport on Tuesday (Wednesday in Manila).
The human rights group Karapatan said Aba arrived at Terminal 1 of the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) at 6:10 a.m. Friday.
The group said Aba was “illegally arrested, detained, subjected to cruel and inhumane treatment, and deported from the US.”
Aba, who flew to the US to give a series of talks on the human rights situation in the Philippines before American church leaders and legislators, was barred by the CBP from leaving the SFO airport for Washington D.C. because of alleged problem on his visa.
Karapatan said it was puzzling because Aba, chair of Suara Bangsamoro and co-chair of lumad and Moro group Sandugo, had a 10-year multiple entry visa.
Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said they suspected that Aba might have been denied entry because the Philippines and the United States were working “in a concerted effort to use repressive immigration laws to stifle freedom of expression and articulation of human rights causes.”
“We do not discount the fact that Aba might have been singled out not only because he is a human rights defender, but because he is a Moro activist,” she said.
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