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Ramsey Clark Says Free Jose Maria Sison!
Former US Attorney General Offers to Help Arrested Philippine Leader

Reference: Steven Raga
NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines
email: nychrp @
August 31, 2007

New York--- Former US Attorney General and world-renown international human rights lawyer Ramsey Clark expressed disapproval and deep concern over the recent arrest of Philippine leader Jose Maria Sison, a political refugee currently detained in the Hague, Netherlands. He also called on the Dutch government to immediately release Sison, whom he describes as "a gentle person... and inspiring leader."

"Everyone who is concerned about peace and freedom has to be greatly distressed over the arrest of Joma Sison," Clark explained in a meeting with the New York Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (NYCHRP) in his Manhattan home.

Clark visited Joma in the Netherlands back in 2005 and has been an ardent supporter of the campaign to have Sison de-listed from the US and European Union terrorist lists. He also claims to be a great admirer of Sison, a fellow critic of US foreign policy.

"Sison is a great spirit that the world needs to know about, a great voice that the world needs to hear. The demonization [of him] will destroy us if we permit it to continue," Clark continued.

As an international human rights lawyer, Clark also pledged to assist Joma by offering to join his international defense team of lawyers headed by Jan Fermon.

Clark is also uncertain of the Dutch judicial system's ability to handle Sison's case with validity and competency, given his two murder charges originate in the Philippines, charges that the Philippine Supreme Court has since dismissed.

"The Dutch can't determine the facts," Clark explained. "The Dutch can't investigate in the Philippines. They can only rely on what the [Arroyo] government tells them, and what the [Arroyo] government wants is persecution for Jose Maria Sison."

"If we want peace on earth, we got to do better. I hope that Netherlands can start right now by releasing this great man, Joma Sison."

No to HSA

Clark also expressed his disapproval of the recently passed Human Security Act (HSA) by the Philippine government last February. The HSA has since been put into full effect since last month.

Already the controversial law is drawing sharp criticism as a measure to stifle and eliminate broad opposition to the Arroyo government in the Philippines and abroad, and dangerously defines terrorism in vague terms.

"The new HSA is a copy of the US Patriot Act, which is probably the most unpatriotic act I've seen past by US Congress, in my many years practicing law," Clark stated. "Sadly the Philippines has been subjected to too much copying of some of the worst aspects of the US, and the HSA ought to be repealed."

No to US Aid

Clark also expressed the need to withdraw US military aid to the Philippines, the 4th largest recipient of US military aid in the world.

The recent US Senate hearing on the extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, headed by Senator Barbara Boxer, could play an influential role as September marks a crunch period for the Senate and House appropriations committees do decide on military spending for 2008. Major human rights watchdogs and churches testified that US military aid to the Philippine military translates into death squads killing civilians who criticize the Arroyo government.

To avoid US aid reduction, the Arroyo government is highlighting the need to invest in war in Mindanao to fight terrorism.

"Every penny given in US aid, will be re-paid in Philippine blood. US aid is buying power through surrogate governments abroad," Clark continued.

"I urge [the US Congress] to withdraw US aid to the Philippines, and urge you to insist that the Philippines be free of all US military presence, especially the building of new bases in Mindanao." Clark ended.

Clark serves on the advisory board of NYCHRP, a member of the Filipino-American alliance BAYAN USA. ###

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