Posted by: kawagib | August 24, 2007

Torture Victims in Mindanao Speak out to International Human Rights Body

By Sittie Rajabia Sundang

 Human Rights organizations in Mindanao presented cases of torture to an International Human Rights Organization that conducted a Fact Finding Mission in Mindanao held in Lispher Inn, Matina, Davao City on August 20, 2007.

 Initiatives for Peace in Mindanao , Kawagib Moro Human Rights organization and Karapatan-Southern Mindanao presented four highlighted cases among the nine cases they submitted to the French based human rights organization FIDH.

Atty. Carlos Isagani Zarate and Atty. Connie Jaime-Brizuela the Union of People’s Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) were also present during the presentation of cases to assist the victims in legal aspects. 

 According to Mouloud Boumghar, a jurist specialized in public international law and one of the delegates of the FIDH, the objective of the mission was to examine whether the fight against terrorism in the Philippines is done in the respect of international human rights standards, in particular the absolute prohibition of torture.

 Among the highlighted cases presented were the torture cases of two Moro victims from Central Mindanao . One was suspect of bombing of the 2003 Davao Airport and Sasa Wharf the other was accused of being an NPA Amazon.

 Gumanod was illegally arrested on July 01, 2003 three months after the bombing incidents. He was accused as member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Special Operations Group (SOG) allegedly involves in kidnapping, robbery, extortion activities and bombings.

 According to the witnesses and Gumanod’s statement, he suffered severe torture during the arrest and interrogation in order to extract information. The combined elements of Military Intelligence Group (MIG 12), ISAFP, Task Force Tugis and Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG ARMM) punched, kicked, punched and slammed him to the electricity post during the arrest of Gumanod.

 On the testimony of Gumanod’s son Ahmad Abas shared to the FIDH delegate, Mouloud Boumghar that his father’s head was hit by the arresting agents with heavy object. His father’s eyes bled when one of them pressed his father’s eyes when he refused to go with them. Gumanod’s case was dismissed on December 2003 due to lack of evidences.

 The case of Alibai Musa, 29 years old, a member of Suara Bangsamoro Party list organization and a convenor of Interfaith Youth Initiative for Genuine Peace (IYIGP) was also presented to FIDH. Musa was illegally arrested and accused as member of the revolutionary group New People’s Army when they went to Makilala, North Cotabato together with her team for a week-long research on the expansion of banana plantation and its effect to farmers.

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