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Dutch Judge Commissioner Closes the Investigation of Prof. Sison

Press Release
International Committee DEFEND
21 November 2007

Utrecht, The Netherlands – The International Committee DEFEND and all its members and supporters applaud the decision of C. M. Derijks, the Judge Commissioner of the Court of The Hague, to formally close the criminal preliminary investigation case of inciting murder against Prof. Jose Maria Sison filed by the Office of the Prosecution in The Netherlands. The Judge Commissioner earlier ordered the investigation of Prof. Sison based on initial evidence presented by the prosecutor.

According to the Judge Commissioner, upon further examination of the evidence and other dossier already presented, “there is a lack of reason, grave presumption and incriminating evidence” for the prosecutor to continue any criminal investigation against Prof. Sison. The Judge Commissioner took into account the decisions of the District Court of The Hague and the Court of Appeals (CA) in favor of Prof. Sison and pointed the failure of the prosecutor J. S. de Vries to show cause for the continuance of the preliminary investigation.

The District Court of The Hague had ruled against the arguments of the prosecutor for the preventive detention of Prof. Sison and went to the extent of attacking the insufficiency of evidence. Thus, it ordered his release from detention last September 13.

Upon appeal by the prosecutor, the Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the District Court of The Hague on October 3. It declared the lack of any prima facie evidence to link Prof. Sison to the charge of inciting or ordering the murders of two government military agents.

The Court of Appeals went so far as to state that the charge should be viewed in their political context, that the statements of the witnesses cannot be accepted as reliable and that there is great doubt whether Prof. Sison can exercise his right to fully cross-examine the witnesses for the prosecution in view of the grave human rights situation in the Philippines and the danger to his lawyers.

The Judge Commissioner J. M. Derijks called to task the prosecutor J. S. de Vries for not taking into account the decisions of the two courts and for its maneuvering for further postponement of the decision to close the investigation, despite the two extensions of the deadline previously granted by the Judge Commissioner to the prosecutor for providing substantive reasons for the continuation of the prosecution.

According to the Judge Commissioner, she found that the prosecutor had in no way provided reasons and information on whether the continuation of the preliminary investigation would be able to lead to another judgment on this point. Therefore, the Judge Commissioner concluded that further investigation would not lead to another conclusion and decided to close the investigation.

Theoretically, the prosecutor can still appeal the decision of the Judge Commissioner to a higher court for the continuation of the investigation or file a formal indictment of Prof. Sison. But she faces overwhelming odds from the decisions already taken by the District Court of The Hague, the Court of Appeals and the Judge Commissioner against the lack of direct and sufficient evidence. It is foolhardy and futile for the prosecutor to appeal to a higher court.

The prosecutor would thus be seen as maliciously continuing the harassment and persecution of Prof. Sison and impeding the resumption of the formal talks in the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations. Meanwhile, Prof. Sison, his lawyers and supporters are prepared to counter any further maneuvers of the prosecutor and higher officials of the Dutch justice ministry who have collaborated with the US and Philippine authorities in bringing the false and politically motivated charge against Prof. Sison.

-end-

For more information:
Ruth de Leon
Telephone Nos.: 00-31-30-8895306
Email: defenddemrights@yahoo.com
Website: www.defendsison.be

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