Friday, March 03, 2006

World outrage at Cong. Beltran's arrest grows

*From the Office of Anakpawis Representative Crispin B. Beltran *

Lisa C. Ito, Public Information Officer (+63)927.796.7006

Tel. # (+632) 426-9442 Email:

URL: http:// **



March 2, 2006**

*"If helping the poor is a crime,*
*and fighting for freedom is rebellion,*
*then I plead guilty as charged."*
--Crispin Beltran, August 1982 Supreme Court hearing

* *

*World outrage at Cong. Beltran's arrest grows*

*Ka Bel moved to tears at show of international solidarity vs political

The illegal arrest and detention of Anakpawis solon Rep. Crispin "Ka Bel"
Beltran is beginning to draw outrage from the international community, as
the steady influx of support statements to Anakpawis, Bagong Alyansang
Makabayan (BAYAN) and the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU)'s emails shows.

Prior to his confinement at the Philippine National Police (PNP) General
Hospital yesterday for hypertension,

Individuals and organizations from at least 17 countries have written
letters of protest addressed to President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo condemning
the illegal and unconstitutional arrest of Cong. Crispin Beltran after the
announcement of Presidential Proclamation 1017.

Letters (sent through email), photographs, and support statements from
Canada, the United States, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, Korea,
Australia, India, Japan, Nepal, Pakistan, Malaysia, Belgium, Norway, Italy,
Greece and Hong Kong have been steadily filling the inbox of Cong. Beltran's
emails. The letter writers range from international human rights
organizations, Filipino immigrants, foreign trade unions and confederations,
Malaysian students and Nepalese peasants.

Many also condemned the arrest of Gloria Step Down Movement (GSM)
Spokesperson Dennis Maga and KMU member Marcial Badela Monday by the police,
while attempting to visit Beltran at Camp Crame, and the attempts to arrest
five other progressive partylist representatives Rafael Mariano of
Anakpawis, Satur Ocampo, Joel Virador, and Teddy Casino of Bayan Muna, and
Liza Maza of Gabriela.

Many of them castigated Pres. Arroyo for her administration's violation of
human rights.

"The British Columbia Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (BCCHRP)
has publically and widely denounced the illegal and anti-democratic and
inhumane declaration of Emergency Rule in the Philippines. Having
investigated the human rights situation in the Philippines on an ongoing
basis, we are aware that your record of human rights violations is the worst
in Philippines history and one of the worst in the world. We are working to
draw attention to this irrefutable fact," wrote BCCHRP chairperson Barbara

Canadian-based Anti-GATT-WTO activist Aziz Choudry slammed Beltran's illegal
detention as a sign of *de facto* Martial Law. "I note that the charge which
has been used as a pretext to arrest and detain Congressman Beltran dates
back some twenty years to the martial law era, and am greatly concerned that
the politically repressive actions of your government are more in keeping
with the Marcos era than those of a supposedly parliamentary democracy,"
Choudry wrote.

Solicitor Luningning Alcuitas-Imperial of Lawyers Rights Watch Canada, a
Vancouver-based NGO in special consultative status with the Economic and
Social Council of the United Nations, wrote to Pres. Arroyo on March 1.

*"*We remind you that the Philippine Government is a signatory to the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights and that it is also a party to all the
major Human Rights instruments. In particular, we remind you that your
government is a signatory to the International Convention on Civil and
Political Rights, which has an established mechanism to monitor its
implementation. Your government is bound to observe all provisions of the
said instruments," Imperial wrote.

Many concerned citizens are also writing to their respective governments to
condemn the Arroyo administation's human rights violations.

University of Auckland Law Faculty Prof. Jane Kelsey: wrote to New Zealand
Prime Minister Helen Clark, saying "As Prime Minister you are in a unique
position to repeat the stand you took in the 1980s. I urge you to convey,
publicly, to President Arroyo's representative the New Zealand government's
condemnation of the state of emergency and the Philippine government's
breach of its international human rights obligations. I also urge you to
demand the immediate release of those who have been detained and endorse
calls from the Philippines for an independent fact-finding and investigation
team composed of representatives from human rights groups, the Church, local
government, and the Commission on Human Rights to inquire into the illegal
arrest and detention of Congressman Crisipin Beltran."*


Cong. Beltran was moved to tears after reading the first batch of letters in
his cell last Monday, wife Rosario Beltran says.

Copies of the letters and support statements may be procured from the Office
of Rep. Beltran.


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