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Letters to Jose Maria Sison





Council of the European Union Should Stop
Persecuting Prof. Jose Maria Sison

Issued by International DEFEND Committee
15 July 2007

For more than four years already, the Council of the European Union has been ruthlessly persecuting Prof. Jose Maria Sison by serially and indefinitely including him on the "terrorist" blacklist and subjecting him to harsh sanctions which are not at all temporary restrictive measures but are in fact prolonged punitive measures in violation of his human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The Council has made the blanket charge of terrorism against Prof. Sison but has not cited against him any specific act of terrorism. It cannot cite any such act because in fact Prof. Sison has never committed any kind of criminal offense within the jurisdiction of the European Union or anywhere else.

The false and unsubstantiated blanket charge of terrorism against Prof. Sison originates from the Philippine and US governments. It is a politically motivated charge that has been calculated to pressure the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) in its peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) in violation of The Hague Joint Declaration.

The political motivation of the false charge has been repeatedly expressed by GRP officials, especially by the late Foreign Secretary Blas Ople and National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales. They have publicly admitted that the charge of terrorism would be withdrawn as soon as the NDFP capitulated by entering into a permanent ceasefire without addressing the roots of the armed conflict in the Philippines. However, the unjust and unfounded charge of terrorism has only served to paralyze the peace negotiations.

The Council of the European Union has allowed itself to be an instrument of political persecution against Prof. Sison. It has become the purveyor of a politically motivated and juridically baseless charge of terrorism. The Council has become an unwitting factor in upsetting and paralyzing the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations despite the fact that the European Parliament has endorsed and supported the negotiations repeatedly in its resolutions.

The falsity of the blanket charge of terrorism against Prof. Sison is evidenced by the fact that the Council desperately and wrongfully misrepresents him as a "terrorist" by merely referring to him as chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines and head of the New People's Army and by distorting the judgments of the Dutch State Council or Raad van State and the Law Unity Chamber or Rechtseenheidkamer, both of which recognize him as a political refugee under Article 1 A of the Refugee Convention.

In Philippine jurisprudence, there is the Hernandez political offense doctrine which makes the CPP and NPA liable for simple rebellion and not for terrorism. The Council of the European Union has kept itself ignorant of said doctrine and allowed itself to be manipulated by the Philippine and US governments in transforming the charge of rebellion in the Philippines into a charge of terrorism in the European Union. In the process, it has attacked the rights of free speech and free association of Prof. Sison who is being criminalized as a "terrorist" through the mere accusation that he is the CPP chairman.

The 23 April 2007 letter of the Council to Prof. Sison recycling the false claims already presented against him before the ECFI in the last more than four years does not pass for a statement of reasons or motivations for blacklisting him. Such false claims have already been debunked in the course of ECFI proceedings from 2003 to 2006. Once more on 22 May 2007 Prof. Sison through counsel has amply made observations to expose the falsity of the claims against him. And yet the Council proceeded to include him in the blacklist on 28 June 2007.

It is a matter of official record and public knowledge that Prof. Jose Maria Sison has been repeatedly cleared of criminal charges by no less than the Philippine government. He was cleared of the charges of subversion and rebellion when he was released from military detention in 1986 soon after the fall of the Marcos dictatorship. The charge of subversion made against him in 1988 was nullified in 1992.

The belated 1991 charge of multiple murder arising from the Marcos-instigated Plaza Miranda bombing incident in 1971 was dismissed in 1994 by resolution of the Manila prosecutors' office as something based on sheer speculation. And yet the Dutch government has maintained the myth that Prof Sison is criminally liable for terrorism and contacts with terrorist organizations in denying him legal admission and residence as a recognized political refugee in The Netherlands.

Since 1992 the Philippine government has not leveled any valid criminal charge against Prof. Sison. In 1998 the secretary of justice of the Philippine government issued a certification that there was no pending criminal charge against him. But in 2003 the Arroyo resumed hurling politically-motivated accusations against him in the mass media. In 2006, it formally charged him with rebellion together with 50 other respondents, supposedly from the time of the founding of the CPP and NPA to the present. But the Supreme Court of the Philippines ruled on 2 July 2007 to invalidate this charge of rebellion and the testimonies and documents presented as evidence.

So far, there is no new valid criminal charge of rebellion against Prof. Sison. And certainly there can yet be no valid charge of terrorism against him because the newly-enacted Anti-Terror Act (Human Security Act of 2007) is to take effect only today and is facing opposition from the people and constitutional experts as a fascist violation of the Bill of Rights. But the Dutch government and the Council of the European Union have maintained the lie since 2002 that he is liable for terrorism.

We are alarmed by public pronouncements of Philippine and Dutch government officials that the Council of the European Union will simply ignore the 11 July 2007 judgment of the ECFI in favor of Prof. Sison and continue to blacklist him as a "terrorist" and subject him to sanctions indefinitely. Top officials of the Arroyo regime, especially National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, have publicly vowed to keep Prof. Sison in the blacklist permanently.

We demand that the Council of the European Union stop persecuting Prof. Sison. It must respect the letter and spirit, the implications and consequences of the ECFI judgment. This clearly rules that the Council must respect the right of Prof. Sison to defense, that it must state the reasons for blacklisting him and that it must afford all opportunities for judicial protection from the false blanket charge of terrorism.

The least that the Council can do in order to stop the persecution of Prof. Sison and show respect to the ECFI judgment is to remove his name immediately from the "terrorist" blacklist. The Council of the European Union has unjustly persecuted and punished Prof. Sison for more than four years by blacklisting him and subjecting him to moral and material damages. The rendering of justice to him is long overdue. ###

For more information:

Ruth de Leon
Telephone Nos.: 00-31-30-8895306

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