'Overkill, very cruel': Lawyers condemn ill treatment of jailed activist whose baby died

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 16 2020 10:12 AM

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MANILA - The lawyers of detained activist Reina Mae Nasino have filed a manifesto condemning what they called the very cruel treatment that their client received from authorities during her furlough.

“We have filed a manifestation as to what transpired on October 14 afternoon when the BJMP (Bureau of Jail Management and Penology) officers forcibly grabbed her to return her to the Manila City Jail,” said Atty. Maria Sol Taule.

Taule said Nasino was prevented from talking to the media during the wake of baby.

“They whisked her away and then suddenly one of the jail officers grabbed her by the wrist, she was handcuffed then and they attempted to take her away from the wake. That started the commotion,” Taule told ABS-CBN News Channel.

Around 40 armed jail and police personnel were guarding Nasino during the wake despite the BJMP’s claim of personnel shortage.

“It's an overkill. Ina was wearing full PPE and she was handcuffed and they initially refused to remove the handcuff and we just asserted to the ground commander that the shackles be removed because she can’t eat and could not even wipe her tears. They were very cruel to her,” she said.

Nasino was initially granted a 3-day furlough, but the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 47 amended it to just 6 hours, spread over 2 days.

Taule said the BJMP stressed that there is a policy that detained persons are not allowed to be interviewed. But Nasino’s lawyers pointed out that the court order did not say otherwise.

Nasino’s legal counsel also maintained that her right to free expression—her civil and political rights—are not suspended.

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Nasino, an organizer of urban poor group Kadamay in Tondo, continues to maintain her innocence, insisting that her arrest in November last year was illegal and that the evidence against her and her colleagues were planted.

Her camp has challenged the validity of the search warrant that led to her arrest before the Manila Regional Trial court and the Court of Appeals.

She added that Nasino’s case is not an isolated one.

“The state forces have been doing this and we have been handling so many cases of this nature against activists and the usual case they are charging these people are illegal possession of firearms and explosives because it is very convenient and easy to plant these evidence to accuse people that they are communists, they are members of the New People’s Army or they are terrorists,” Taule said.