CHR tells Duterte: Don't give special treatment to Russian drug suspects

Ron Gagalac, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 15 2017 06:36 PM | Updated as of Nov 15 2017 09:22 PM

Commission on Human Rights. Mark Demayo, ABS-CBN News

MANILA- The Commission on Human Rights on Wednesday reminded President Rodrigo Duterte that there should be no "special treatment" for 2 Russian nationals suspected of drug trafficking.

This, after Duterte promised Russian Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev at a meeting during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Summit, that the 2 accused Russian drug traffickers will get a fair trial and will be detained in a "comfortable house."

CHR spokesperson, lawyer Jacqueline De Guia said while the CHR believes all persons who have violated the law should be given due process and fair trial, all prisoners must be treated in equal terms--including the manner by which they are detained.

"There must be no special treatment of prisoners. Lahat sila dapat pantay-pantay sa mata ng batas at sa ilalim ng batas, regardless of nationality and regardless of position or status in life," De Guia said Wednesday.

"We do believe that whatever prison system we have has to be the same system which any detainee or person deprived of liberty must undergo through" she added.

Rights group iDEFEND also echoed CHR's statements, saying the President should accord equal treatment to all detainees.

"It's unfair. It's double standard. Dapat sa lahat ng Pilipino din ibinibigay ito at sinisiguro na nakakamit itong karapatang ito. Libo-libo ang hindi iginalang ang due process dahil sa kanilang drug war," Ellecer Carlos, spokesperson of iDEFEND, said.

The Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency said the hearing of the case against Yuri Kirdyushkin and Anastasia Novopashina is still ongoing.

Kirdyushkin was arrested on Oct. 5, 2016. He allegedly possessed around 10 kilos of cocaine while at the Manila airport, while Novopashina was detained in November last year after authorities found nearly 13 kilos of cocaine in her luggage.

De Guia said while the CHR fully supports the administration's campaign against illegal drugs, they also adhere to the principle of fair treatment for those undergoing legal process.

"We hope that anyone who violates Republic Act 9165 will be given due process but that includes also equal and fair treatment. And therefore, regardless of nationality kailangan pantay rin ang pagtrato sa kanila habang sumasailalim sila sa proseso ng batas," she said.