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Judgment of European Court of Justice on Sison Appeal
is Reminiscient of Medieval Inquisition and Fascist Times

By International DEFEND Committee
February 1, 2007

We, the International DEFEND Committee, hereby criticize and condemn the judgment by the European Court of Justice dismissing the appeal of Prof. Jose Maria Sison for access to the secret documents used by the Council of the European Union in putting him in the so-called terrorist list and imposing on him punitive sanctions.

The judgment is reminiscent of the medieval inquisition and fascist times. It upholds the refusal of the Council of European Union to show the documents used against Prof. Sison and to identify the particular states accusing him of terrorism. Thus, his rights to the presumption of innocence, to due process and to defense continue to be violated, as earlier pointed by the European Office of Amnesty International.

The unjust and draconian rationalization used by the Council to prevent him from scrutinizing and contesting the so-called sensitive documents is that the access of Prof. Sison to these would "prejudice the operational fight against terrorism and undermine public interests in the protection of public security and international relations". In fact, the Council has failed to cite a single incident or evidence of terrorism against him.

The heinous crime of terrorism is falsely imputed to Prof. Sison without any proof. And yet punitive measures are imposed on him. These are deceptively called temporary restrictive measures but they have already run for more than four years since October 28, 2002 and include preventing him from taking employment and legal residence and depriving him of the bare social benefits for living allowance, health insurance and housing.

The issue of access to the particular documents used against Prof. Sison is subsidiary to the main issue of "terrorist" listing, which is expected to be decided soon by the European Court of First Instance. The judgment already made by the European Court of Justice on the subsidiary issue is likely to prejudice the anticipated decision of the European Court of First Instance on the main issue whose hearings were concluded last May 30, 2006.

However, whatever is the outcome of the litigation on the main issue of "terrorist" listing, Prof. Sison will continue to be protected by the European Convention on Human Rights, especially by its Article 3 which prohibits his forcible transfer to any country where he is at risk of torture, degrading or inhuman treatment or punishment.

Even then, Prof. Sison has been subjected to persecution and inhuman and degrading treatment for so long. He has long been recognized as a political refugee by the Office of the UN High Commission on Refugees and by the Dutch courts, but on the basis of secret intelligence dossiers he has been denied legal residence and admittance as refugee.

Since 2002, he has been blacklisted as a "terrorist" and made to suffer punitive sanctions on the basis of the false charge of terrorism. This is in line with the Bush policy of promoting state repression and carrying out wars of aggression in the name of a permanent and preemptive "global war on terror". Also in this connection, the legal infrastructure for fascism has been laid in Europe and other parts of the world. ###

Contact: Ruth de Leon,
International Coordinator
International DEFEND Committee
Tel. 00-31-30-8895306

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