FORMER POLITICAL PRISONER TO ATTEND INTL CONFAB ON TORTURE AND ARBITRARY DETENTION IN TURKEY, TO CALL FOR SUPPORT FOR THE RELEASE OF THE MORONG 43 AND ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS

NEWS RELEASE
26 November 2010

Reference: Fr. Dionito Cabillas, SELDA Secretary General
(0917-5965859)
Axel Pinpin (email: malay.axel@yahoo.com.ph)

Axel Pinpin, writer and former political prisoner, leaves today to attend an international symposium on torture and arbitrary detention and isolation in Istanbul, Turkey which will be held on November 27-29, 2010. He will be representing the Samahan ng Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA) as one of its members in the said international event.

Pinpin, also currently the Secretary General of the Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (KASAMA-TK), was among the political prisoners known collectively as the Tagaytay 5. Pinpin and his companions were on their way to Manila when they were abducted by a Navy-PNP composite team in Tagaytay City on April 28, 2006.

After a few days, they were all presented to the media as “communist rebels” involved in a “destabilization plot” against the Arroyo government. They were tortured and held incommunicado from relatives, lawyers and friends for several days. They were eventually released in 2008, after the local court dismissed charges against them.

“Our participation in the symposium in Turkey is an expression of solidarity with all political prisoners and human rights advocates against torture, arbitrary arrests and detention. The plight of political prisoners, who were imprisoned because they were seen as ‘enemies of the states,’ ‘terrorists’ or ‘dangerous dissenters’ is an issue that should be seen in the light of the continuing wars of aggression being launched by imperialist governments such as the United States (US). Legitimate acts of protests and dissent are being criminalized and the right of the people to organize and mobilize as part of their democratic movements are being curtailed and silenced through torture and imprisonment,” Pinpin said.

Pinpin will give testimonies on his own experience while in prison and on the campaign launched by human rights organizations and people’s organizations for their release. He will likewise highlight the plight of the Morong 43, the forty three health workers who were illegally arrested, tortured and are on their tenth month of detention this December.

“We hope this engagement with former political prisoners, lawyers, doctors and human rights organizations in Turkey will contribute more to the heightened clamor for the release of the Morong 43. Recently, four activists in the Bicol Region were illegally arrested and detained, ala-Morong 43. As long as this practice and the counter-insurgency program of the new Aquino administration remains no different from the Arroyo government, the attacks on the political and civil rights of the Filipino people will continue,” Pinpin said.

While in Turkey, the former political prisoner will also meet with members of the Filipino community and Turkish organizations in Istanbul and will likewise commemorate the International Day of Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War in Istanbul on December 3, 2010.

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