March 2, 2018
Reference: Jigs Clamor, Deputy Secretary General, 0999-7721233
Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-9790580
Torture victims file complaint vs soldiers at CHR
Karapatan today accompanied Janry Mensis, 22, and “Jerry” (not his real name), 17, both farmers in Compostela Valley and part-time small scale miners in Tagum City, Davao del Norte who lodged complaints at the Commission on Human Rights (CHR). The two were abducted, illegally detained, and brutally tortured by elements of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) from November 28 to December 6, 2017. They are also victims of frustrated killing.
Janry and Jerry were abducted by elements of the police and military in Tagum City, Davao del Norte on November 28, 2017 after being falsely accused as thieves. After the Philippine National Police-Tagum cleared the victims, they were turned over to the 71st Infantry Battalion – Philippine Army, who brought them to the army camp where they were continuously beaten for being alleged members of the New People’s Army (NPA). They were kept inside an unmoving ambulance inside the camp for 8 days, and were fed only a total of 4 days. On December 6, 2017, they were brought to a mountainous area in Compostela Valley and were thrown in a pit where the soldiers tried to burn them alive.
The victims were able to escape, after pretending to be dead, but Janry already suffered third-degree burns. Jerry also has several wounds in his body. The two were able to get back to their family and made contact with Karapatan’s regional chapter in Southern Mindanao on December 12, 2017.
“The case of Janry and Jerry are a testament to the cruel and fascist character of state security forces. Despite the enactment of the Anti-Torture Law in 2009 and the government’s ratification of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, such practices still prevail. These stem from the military’s dangerous and insidious mindset that they can get away with anything, owing from the climate of impunity in the country. We cringe at the demonic nature of these monsters, no doubt more emboldened by the imposition of martial law in Mindanao,” said Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Roneo Clamor during the filing of complaints.
Clamor added that the existence of such laws that aim to protect persons from torture and the insistent prevalence of these practices is indicative of wide gap between the law and its implementation. “This shows that the military is knowingly and deliberately ignoring the laws and agreements that they should be upholding and promoting. Trying to burn two people alive is at the height of barbarity and brutality. This is the kind of state security forces that we have in the country,” he explained.
Janry Mensis and Jerry are among the 235 victims of frustrated extrajudicial killing and 87 victims of torture documented by Karapatan under the Duterte administration.
“The torture of civilians remain rampant, yet previous administrations and the current regime have either turned a blind eye or has actively incited its use against persons suspected as ‘enemies of the state.’ This is unforgivable. The perpetrators should immediately be brought to justice. Karapatan, along with the victims and their kin, will not only lodge a complaint at the CHR, but are exploring ways to file countercharges against the perpetrators. If this is any indication of the state of human rights in the country, the case lends itself to the conclusion that the Duterte regime has created a suitable environment for the military and other state forces to relentlessly and deliberately commit rights abuses with impunity,” concluded Clamor.
*copies of the complaint letter, affidavits, and other documents are available upon request to firstname.lastname@example.org
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KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.