The ICHRP expresses its condemnation of the wrongful conviction on trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms of Maoj Maga. Peter Murphy, Global Council Chair of the coalition issued an open letter to demand for the release of Maoj in February:
We echo the call of KARAPATAN and other human rights defenders to FREE ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS NOW.
ICHRP Global Secretariat
We are sharing with you the statement of Maoj Maga’s fellow political prisoners at the Special Intensive Care Area- Metro Manila District Jail 4 (SICA-MMDJ 4) on his wrongful conviction on trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms.
Please circulate the statement widely. We enjoin everyone to echo the call for the immediate release of political prisoners, and dismiss the trumped-up charges against them.
Karapatan Public Information Desk
Statement of Political Prisoners in Camp Bagong Diwa on the conviction of trade unionist Maoj Maga:
Today, we are witness once again to how the rule of law can be brutally trampled upon with impunity by those who are sworn to enforce and uphold it.
Marklen Maojo Maga, a 41-year old labor activist, husband and father, was convicted this morning of the trumped-up charge of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. He was sentenced to prison mayor (8 years and 1 day) minimum to reclusion temporal (14 years and 8 months).
We, his fellow political prisoners (detainees) at the SICA/MMDJ4 detention center at Bicutan, Taguig City strongly condemn and vigorously denounce this blatant travesty of justice and the rule of law.
Maga is absolutely innocent of the criminal charges levelled against him. The cal.45 pistol and bullets allegedly found in his possession were planted by the AFP and PNP intelligence agents who arrested him last February 22, 2018. The arresting team used a spurious arrest warrant charging him with murder allegedly commited on March 17, 2017 at Cabadbaran City, Agusan del Norte, a place he has never been to.
Arrest and detention based on perjured testimonies of witnesses – usually soldiers and policemen – alleging fabricated criminal offenses is nothing new. Hundreds of leaders and members of progressive organizations as well as ordinary peasants suspected of supporting the revolutionary movement have been thrown behind bars for years all over the country. Many others have been extrajudicially killed, involuntarily disappeared or tortured in the process of “arrest” (e.g. the peasants in Negros Island). Though suspected of political offenses, they are charged with common crimes such as murder, arson, kidnapping, robbery, illegal possession of firearms and explosives, etc.
What is new is that the state security apparatus has not only stepped up its red-tagging and terrorist-branding, it has also broadened its targets (e.g. the spate of “ouster” plots and matrices) for “neutralization”. Further, civilian agencies and institutions, including the courts, are being increasingly weaponized to serve so-called “Peace and Security” (read: counterinsurgency) Plans.
We join all our freedom-loving countrymen, all those who value justice and the rule of law, to oppose these increasing repressive measures that aim to intimidate, coerce and suppress all dissent and criticism of the current administration and squelch the clamor for genuine reforms.
Justice for Marklen Maojo Maga!
Justice for All!
Rey Claro Casambre
and the rest of Political Detainees of SICA1/MMDJ4 and women Political Detainees of MMDJ3
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
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.