We condemn the wrongfuland indefinite imprisonment of Senator Leila M. de Lima whose cases are onprotracted trial and are prosecuted with the use of dubious testimonies ofinmates. In an unprecedented move, the Department of Justice has formed an18-member team to prosecute Senator de Lima. The indictments were changed (fromdrug trading to conspiracy to trade in drugs) after more than a year from herarrest and without the benefit of a new investigation. These circumstancesoccur in the same judicial environment that has enabled the politically chargedouster of a Chief Justice, and the arrests of other political dissenters andactivists.
We denounce therelentless political persecution of Senator Leila de Lima whose detentionresulted from her personal convictions and public statements against humanrights abuses in the Philippines, as found by the UN Working Group on ArbitraryDetention (UNWGAD). She launched the Senate investigation into the spate ofextrajudicial killings in the “war on drugs”. Even in detention, she remainsvocal in her political beliefs and advocacies.
We decry the unabatedpublic vilification of Senator Leila de Lima by Duterte and his politicalallies, including their supporters in media and social media, who havetargetted her as an object of verbal assault, sexist tirade, false informationand hate speech. She is discriminated against as a woman and a human rightsdefender.
Senator Leila de Lima’spersecution -- highlighted by the prolonged detention -- is undeniably causedby her exercise of freedoms of thought, conscience, opinion and expression, andher right to participate in government affairs as a citizen and Senator, whichare all enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) and theInternational Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) of which thePhilippines is a State Party.
Given the dubiousnessof the charges against Senator Leila de Lima and the indubitable violations ofher rights, we urge the Government of the Philippines to immediately freeSenator Leila de Lima, and to drop the charges against her. Remedying Senatorde Lima’s situation without delay is a demonstration to the Filipino people andthe international community that the Philippines can still stand with the restof the world in defense of freedom and human rights.
For the full of signatories, please see here.