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Prof. Sison is Exposed to Threat of U.S. Kidnapping but He is Legally well Protected by European Convention

By Ruth de Leon
International Coordinator, Committee DEFEND
16 December 2005

It is true that Professor Jose Maria Sison is exposed to the threat of US kidnapping in Europe and is being subjected to persecution by the Dutch government, including mental torture and inhuman and degrading treatment.

The Dutch government has stigmatized him as a "terrorist", incited hatred and violence against his person, prevented him from having a paid job, terminated his social benefits and thus deprived him of the essential means to human existence.

But at the same time, Prof. Sison is legally well-protected from US kidnapping by the European Convention on Human Rights and the Refugee Convention. Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights clearly prohibits his transfer by deportation or extradition to any country where he is at risk of being subjected to execution, torture or inhuman, cruel and degrading treatment.

Right now, the US is being exposed and denounced as having unlawfully "renditioned" (US euphemism for kidnapping) citizens and residents of European countries in order to have them detained and tortured in CIA prisons in Eastern Europe and elsewhere, such as Guantanamo, Afghanistan, Jordan and Egypt.

Unless Bush has gone completely crazy and is unmindful of the legal and political repercussions, he would not allow his covert operatives to kidnap Prof. Sison who has filed in various courts since 2002 complaints against the Dutch government and the Council of the European Union for unjustly labeling and listing him as a "terrorist".

Under the US-Dutch extradition treaty, the US and Dutch governments can connive to cause the extradition or the detention prior to extradition of Prof. Sison to the US on the basis of false claims fabricated by the US, Philippine and Dutch intelligence agencies. But such adverse action against Prof. Sison would clearly put into play his right to due process under Article 6 of the European Convention.

The US, The Netherlands and the Council of the European Union have preferred to apply the "terrorist" listing and sanctions on Prof. Sison without filing any formal court charge or even only initiating a criminal investigation against him because they have no demonstrable ground. They believe unjustly and maliciously that they can threaten his life, torture him, humiliate and degrade him without having to present any evidence before a court of law.

Even then, Prof. Sison has retained several batteries of lawyers on a pro bono or pro Deo basis in the US, Philippines, The Netherlands and Europe in order to counteract and contest the fabrication of false claims and charges against him by intelligence agencies. He benefits from the legal counsel of at least 40 lawyers of various nationalities.

In the Philippines, he is provided free legal assistance by former UN Judge Romeo T. Capulong and the Public Interest Law Center. In the US, his lawyers include former US attorney general Ramsay Clark and others from the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Lawyers Guild, which has promulgated resolutions in his defense. US authorities become criminally liable if they are discovered in grand jury proceedings that they use false claims as basis for an extradition request.

In The Netherlands, Prof. Sison has legal assistance from the Schoolplein Advocaten and Tomlow law office of Utrecht, the Amsterdam Clinic of International Law based in the University of Amsterdam and the Bohler, Franken, Koppe and Wijngaarden law office of Amsterdam. Marq Wijngaarden is the lead lawyer in the case he is appealing to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

In the case of Prof. Sison against the "terrorist" listing by the Council of the European Union pending before the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg, Jan Fermon of Brussels, Belgium is the lead lawyer and is assisted by the Belgian Progress Lawyers Network and the law offices of Hans Eberhard Schultz of Berlin, Germany, Antoine Comte of Paris, France, Dundar Gurses of Utrecht, Netherlands, Thomas Olssen of Stockholm, Sweden and Romeo T. Capulong of PILC.

Even as Prof. Sison is legally well protected, he relies on the active support of so many progressive political parties of various colors (red, green and rainbow), and various types of organizations which are multisectoral and sectoral (labor, farmers, women, youth and professionals) and cause-oriented (human rights, development, peace and the like).

The Committee DEFEND is focused on arousing and mobilizing international support for Prof. Jose Maria Sison. It has been wary over the recent visit of US intelligence czar John Negroponte to Manila. This was attended by a sudden spate of propaganda claims by the civil and military officials of the Arroyo regime that the CPP and NPA are responsible for bombing incidents and a threat of such to the US and other foreign embassies.

Some Manila mass media have also been echoing the false claims of the military and police authorities that Prof. Sison has ordered the tactical offensives of the NPA and is responsible for the NPA punishment of the notorious Marcos-time torturer Col. Rodolfo Aquinaldo. We assert the truth that the Central Committee of the CPP and the National Command of the NPA make decisions and take actions in the Philippines. Not Prof. Sison.

Prof. Sison is busy enough as the chairperson of the International Coordinating Committee of the International League of Peoples' Struggle. There are more than 300 participating organizations in the league from various countries and continents. These have collectively and individually extended support and cooperation to him and to the Committee DEFEND in the struggle for human rights, justice, freedom and peace. ###

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