Sunday, January 27, 2013

Int’l groups to DOJ: Resolve pending review, release Ericson Acosta now!

January 27, 2013

International human rights groups appealled yet again to the Department of Justice (DoJ)  to immediately issue a favorable resolution to the Petition for Review filed by detained poet-activist Ericson Acosta.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, who met with Acosta’s family last week, promised Acosta and his supporters that the DoJ resolution will be out “by Friday (last week) or early next week.” However, The DoJ is yet to release its decision as of posting time.

In separate statements addressed to the DoJ, human rights support groups from the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, reiterated their appeal for Acosta’s immediate and unconditional release.  

“Acosta’s complainants have failed to file any comment on this petition. Without such opposition, the review petition should have been resolved within 60 days,” said Rev. Canon Barry Naylor, honorary president of the CHRP-UK (Campaign for Human Rights in the Philippines-United Kingdom).  The petition for review was filed by Acosta’s lawyers from the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) in September 2011.

“We as SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights Rights in the Philippines) demand that all of the trumped-up and fabricated charges against him be dropped and that he is set free in order to pursue his artistic passions,” said Rupert Estanislao, chair of the SF CHRP.

“(Acosta’s) continued detention is a colossal injustice to Acosta and to the Filipino people whom he has chosen to serve through his courageous and creative involvement in the people’s struggle for their economic, political and cultural rights,”  said Orval K. Chapman, founding member of the Canada-Philippines-Solidarity for Human Rights.

Acosta, 40, a cultural worker arrested by the military in San Jorge, Samar while conducting human rights research,  is currently confined at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) in Quezon City after securing a court order for a medical furlough.  Upon arrest, Acosta was interrogated and tortured inside a military camp for three days before a trumped-up charge of illegal possession of explosive was filed against him to justify his arrest and detention.  Before his confinement at the NKTI, Acosta was detained for 23 months at the Calbayog sub-provincial jail in Samar.

His supporters say that his current medical problems are the direct result of torture and dismal prison conditions.

The Free Ericson Acosta Campaign (FEAC) demanded that the DOJ resolve the case immediately while Acosta is under medical furlough. “We do not want him to return to a hostile environment given his medical condition,” the group said.  

“The only thing (Acosta)  is guilty of is dedication and service to the oppressed masses of the Philippines,” they said.

Father also in hospital

Acosta’s family continues to raise funds for his medical bills even as Acosta’s elderly father, Isaias, 79, who publicly appealed for his son to receive medical treatment since July of last year, is now also scheduled to undergo a spinal operation within the week.

“The distress of Ericson’s imprisonment has also taken its toll on my husband’s health. He is in severe pain now due to a spinal ailment and needs to immediately undergo operation. We are very old, our only wish is to see our son walk free again,” said Liwaway, 80,  Acosta’s mother. ###

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