Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Campaign to free detained artist gains int’l support

On his fifth month of incarceration, poet and political prisoner Ericson Acosta gets the support of fellow artists from some 15 countries around the world.

Artists from all over the globe signed the petition calling for Acosta’s release on the event of the International Conference of Progressive Culture and the Agit-Prop International Film Festival held last July 1-6 at the University of the Philippines.

Among the signatories are filmmakers Mustafa Kilinc from Germany, Iara Lee from Brazil and Eric Tandoc from US; Mexican songwriter Rosa Martha Zarate Macias of the Solidarity Bracero Project; Palestinian songwriter Tareq Abu Kwaik; members of the Odaya Women’s Drum Group in Canada; Playback Theater and Theater of the Oppressed from Taiwan; and Habi Arts and Trust Your Struggle from USA.

Members of local cultural groups Kaboronyogan Cultural Network from the Bicol Region and Kuntaw Mindanao and Tugtugang Bayan from the Southern Mindanao Region also signed the statement calling for Acosta’s immediate release.

“His rights continue to be violated each day he spends in prison,” read the Free Ericson Acosta campaign statement initially signed by hundreds of artists and cultural workers, including National Artist Bienvenido Lumbera, Nanding Josef, Pen Medina, Bibeth Orteza, among others.

Meanwhile, more than 400 activists from 43 countries have supported the campaign to Free All Political Prisoners in the Philippines, by way of a resolution approved in the recently-concluded Fourth Assembly of the International League of Peoples’ Struggle (ILPS) held at San Mateo, Rizal last July 7-9.

The resolution called on President Benigno Aquino III to grant a general, unconditional and omnibus amnesty for all political prisoners in the Philippines.

Acosta was arrested without warrant by the military in Barangay Bay-ang, San Jorge, Samar last February 13. After months of waiting for the prosecutor’s resolution on his case, Acosta’s lawyers have yet to receive copies of the court information on the illegal possession of explosive charge levied against him.

A check with the local courts in Samar revealed that court information on Acosta’s case is yet to be filed. His lawyers have since filed a motion for reconsideration with the prosecutor’s office for his immediate release. Acosta is still detained at the sub-provincial jail in Calbayog.

Campaign reaches Europe
In Europe, cultural activists led by the Saturay family of artists and musicians will hold a solidarity dinner, “Free the Artist! Free Ericson Acosta!” 6:30pm, Utrecht time, the Netherlands. The event is sponsored by the Rice and Rights Network for Human Rights in the Philippines.

Haranang Bayan, “Prison Sessions”
Tonight, the UP Philippine Collegian and Alay Sining, together with the Free Ericson Acosta Campaign, will also mark Acosta’s 5th month in detention with a cultural event dubbed Haranang Bayan 3 at the Backdoor Blues Cafe in Quezon City. It will be the third in a series of gathering of artists and cultural workers since Acosta’s arrest. The title of the event is also the title of a song composed by Acosta with UP-based group Alay Sining.

Acosta began taking activism seriously as a writer and editor of UP’s student publication, the Philippine Collegian. He later became chairperson of cultural group Alay Sining and student alliance STAND-UP.

A CD version of “Prison Sessions,” raw recordings of Acosta singing his compositions while in Calbayog jail, will also be launched in the said event. ###

Reference: Renato Reyes Jr
BAYAN Sec-Gen; Free Ericson Acosta Campaign convenor, 0929-5082902

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