Tell it to SunStar: Release Sen. De Lima

ON THE 1000th day of Senator Leila de Lima’s unjust incarceration

As today marks the 1000th day of the incarceration of Sen. Leila de Lima, we express our solidarity in the call for her immediate release and for the dismissal of the trumped-up charges filed against her.

De Lima’s incarceration is a stark example of the Duterte government’s vindictiveness against critics, including those who initiate probes into the alleged involvement of Duterte on extrajudicial killings in Davao City when he was mayor and those committed in line with the government’s drug war.

On Feb. 24, 2017, De Lima was arrested by authorities over the drug charges filed against her by the Department of Justice before a Muntinlupa court. Since then, the senator who is considered as one of the fiercest critics of the President, has been arbitrarily detained in Camp Crame.

At least 1,000 days have already passed and De Lima still remains as one of the targets of political persecution by a regime who criminalizes dissent. Until now, no concrete piece of evidence has been found as to her involvement in the proliferation of illegal drugs. Meanwhile, false testimonies against her have been concocted by those in power.

This is the same fate faced by nearly 600 political prisoners and other human rights defenders who face trumped-up charges, based on planted evidence and perjured testimonies, as direct forms of reprisals on their social justice and human rights work. Among these political prisoners is 20-year old Ge-Ann Perez, who is suffering from leprosy and is facing trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

As a human rights alliance, we will continue to hold accountable those who shamelessly persecute government critics by weaponizing the courts and its bureaucracy to fabricate charges against them. We will stand with other rights defenders and communities to stop a government who perpetrates threats and attacks against individuals who courageously stand for human rights. (By Karapatan Human Rights Group)