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Popular Dutch TV Program RTL Boulevard
Features Case of Prof. Jose Maria Sison

By International DEFEND Committee
13 February 2007

A popular Dutch TV program called RTL Boulevard, which is watched daily by millions of Dutch people, featured on 12 February 2007 the case of Prof. Jose Maria Sison against the Dutch and European authorities for blacklisting him as a "terrorist", imposing punitive sanctions on him and violating his fundamental human rights.

Prof. Sison was interviewed together with the jurist Ms Bibi van Ginkel of the Clingendael Institute of International Relations and Bram Mosckowicz of the prominent Mosckowics law firm who are experts of international law and criminal law, respectively. The two experts stressed Prof. Sison's right to the presumption of innocence.

Prof. Sison complained, "I am an alleged terrorist without a single act of terror being said that I am responsible for". He also said, "It is crazy. Freezing my bank account. All the money, the measly amount of 1900 euros, all come from the Dutch social welfare agency for my essential human needs."

He described his persecution in the following words, "It is witchhunting like in medieval times. Because no evidence against me has been presented to me."

Bibi van Ginkel decried, "Being put on the terrorist list means your funds are frozen, you cannot be insured, you cannot withdraw money, you cannot pay for your groceries. You are not immediately branded a criminal, not even a suspect, and you are not yet convicted. But in the meantime you are already made to suffer consequences."

In defense of Prof. Sison's right to the presumption of innocence, Ms van Ginkel said further, "The person listed has the burden of proving that he has not committed or has no connection with terrorism. It is as if the world has been turned upside down." She observed, "The chance of getting off the list is very small."

Bram Mosckowicz pointed out, "There are two problems: being on the list and getting off the list, which is almost impossible. There is no problem when a judge metes a sentence for a terrorist act." Referring to Prof. Sison, he said, "He is not a person I would immediately judge as an evil person. He appears on the list and he has been trying to get off that list for sometime now."

Mosckowicz observed, "The European Court, or a part of it, is now examining whether authorities have acted a bit according to procedural guidelines in placing people on the list. In Europe, unlike in America, those put on the list have to be informed that they are on the list. Only then do they know that they can they make a complaint against such listing. But the investigation will be technical whether you were on the list according to specific guidelines."

Earlier the NRC Handelsblad, one of the major Dutch newspapers, published on 1 February 2007 a front page article by Joop Meijnen, exposing the groundless listing of Prof. Sison as a "terrorist" and the inhumane termination of his social benefits (living allowance, health insurance, housing, legal liability insurance and old age pension).

The fundamental human rights of Prof. Sison, which have been violated, include the right to life and enjoyment of one's possessions, to the presumption of innocence, to due process, to defense, against inhuman and degrading treatment, to privacy and family life and to human security and dignity against threats and damage to one physical well-being and reputation.

In the poll conducted by the NRC Handelsblad subsequent to the aforesaid article, an overwhelming majority of 74.7 per cent of the responding readers supported Prof. Sison and disagreed with the ill treatment being given to him by the Dutch authorities.

Currently, Prof. Sison has a pending case before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg against the Council of the European Union for blacklisting him as a "terrorist" upon the request of the Dutch government. He is demanding that he be removed from the blacklist.

He has another case before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg against the Dutch government for having terminated his social benefits, for having falsely claimed that he has a travel document to leave The Netherlands and for violating so many of his rights under the European Convention on Human Rights. ###

Contact: Ruth de Leon,
International Coordinator
International DEFEND Committee
Postal Address: 15687, 1001 Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Tel. 00-31-30-8895306
Fax: 00-31-84-7589930

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