December 3 International Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners

Group conducts solidarity action for political prisoners in hunger strike

The Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), an organization of former political prisoners of the country, staged today a solidarity jail visit cum protest with 16 political prisoners of Compostela Valley Provincial Jail who led the week-long hunger strike and noise barrage.

The 16 political prisoners and 547 inmates occupied the rooftop of provincial jail conducting hunger strike and noise barrage to press their legitimate demands to both local and national governments. This is the second time when the political prisoners and inmates united their ranks in protest since the government did not heed their calls during the first hunger strike last October.

“The following are the demands expressed by the political prisoners and inmates: 1) more local courts to expedite the resolution of their cases; 2) improvement of services for prisoners; 3) medical care for elderly and sickly inmates; 4) unconditional release of all political prisoners; and 5) justice for all victims of Oplan Bantay Laya and Oplan Bayanihan”, said SELDA-Southern Mindanao Secretary General Fe Salino.

“As we commemorate today the International Day of Solidarity with Political Prisoners, we expressed our militant salute to the 16 political prisoners and other inmates on their second hunger strike and noise barrage that started on November 26. Once again the political prisoners, inmates and their families and relatives showed their political unity and strength which makes their efforts justifiable. The Aquino government must immediately respond to their just demands if he truly adheres to justice”, Salino said

“SELDA-SMR is also in solidarity with the political prisoners’ call to bring Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to detention facility and not in hospital or house arrest. Allowing Arroyo to hospital and house arrest shows a double standard in our justice wherein political prisoners and poor inmates are languishing in inhumane conditions in detention while the known plunderers, election saboteurs and human rights violators are given special treatment”, she added.

Based on SELDA documentation, Southern Mindanao Region has 31 political prisoners wherein 16 of them are detained in ComVal provincial jail. Majority of them are victims of illegal arrest and torture under the Arroyo government’s Oplan Bantay Laya. Instead of correcting the past mistakes and repressive rule of Arroyo regime, the Aquino government is continuing the draconian tactics through the implementation of Oplan Bayanihan which has resulted to extra-judicial killings, abductions, illegal detentions, and trump-up charges against activists and their known supporters.###

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