Posted by: kawagib | September 24, 2007

Torture victims narrate experience before France-based HR group

DAVAO CITY — Human rights organizations in Mindanao presented cases of torture to the France-based Fédération internationale des droits de l’homme (FIDH) or International Federation of Human Rights last Monday.

The presentation was made at the Lispher Inn in Matina.

Initiatives for Peace in Mindanao , Kawagib Moro Human Rights organization and Karapatan-Southern Mindanao presented four among the nine cases they submitted to the FIDH. The FIDH was conducting a fact-finding mission in Mindanao .

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

According to Mouloud Boumghar, a jurist specializing 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 with respect for international human rights standards, in particular the absolute prohibition of torture.

Among the cases presented were the torture of two Moro victims from Southwestern Mindanao – one was a suspect in the bombing of the 2003 Davao Airport and Sasa Wharf while the other was accused of being an amazon of the New People’s Army (NPA).

Gumanod was illegally arrested on July 1, 2003, three months after the bombing incidents. He was accused as member of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) Special Operations Group (SOG) allegedly involved in kidnapping, robbery, extortion activities and bombings.

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

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

The case of Alibai Musa, 29, 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 NPA 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 on farmers.

Musa said she suffered sexual molestation during the interrogation at the 602nd brigade camp in Carmen, North Cotabato . The military men interrogating Musa hit her hands using cable wire when she denied allegations of the military. Because of this, she was forced to admit that she is a member of the NPA. They filed a case of rebellion against Musa and her fellow researcher. The case is still on going at the Kidapawan court.

Two cases of torture of alleged NPA members were also presented. Cases of rebellion were dismissed.

Boumghar said they were very thankful for having a substantive dialogue with the victims, lawyers and human rights workers and said they will make a report regarding the mission to help the victims bring their cases to the open.

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