On the occasion of International Day in support of Victims of Torture
Human rights group condemns torture of political prisoner in military camp
Today, on the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, human rights group SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) called to stop the torture, and the inhuman or degrading treatment of a political prisoner while in solitary confinement at Fort Bonifacio, Taguig.
According to Angie Ipong, SELDA’s secretary general, Tirso Alcantara, an NDFP consultant who was arrested without warrant and is now facing trumped-up criminal charges, is suffering from inhumane treatment from his captors.
“The military is killing him softly. Alcantara should be transferred to a civilian detention facility right away because as long as he stays under military custody, his health condition and life is always in danger,” Ipong said.
Alcantara, who recently signed an affidavit complaining about the inhumane treatment, said that many times his food ration had dirt or trash in it, like matchsticks, broken pieces of glass, or feces mixed with the food. He said that he has also been given food that has caused swelling of his lips, numbness of his mouth, headache, abdominal spasms and vomiting.
His statement further narrated that he was made to drink water that smells and tastes like menthol. After drinking the water, his head and stomach would ache terribly for days, accompanied with vomiting and loose bowel movement.
According to him, unauthorized blood samples were also extracted from him while he was blindfolded and without his permission.
“On March 10, after complaining of a rise in blood pressure, he was seen by a doctor who did not identify himself. Alcantara underwent an ECG procedure, and was given medicines. After taking the medicines, he had nausea, headache, and chills,” Ipong said.
On June 17, the group went to Fort Bonifacio to visit Alcantara, together with a lawyer and a doctor, but only the lawyer and doctor were allowed inside. “His visitors, including lawyers, doctors, and church workers were made to wait much longer than the time they spent with him,” Ipong said.
The group said the military’s treatment to Alcantara are violation of his rights guaranteed by the Philippine Constitution, Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, , Anti-Torture Act of 2009 and Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Laws (CARHRIHL).
“The AFP is continuously violating rights under their Oplan Bayanihan. No matter how many times they say ‘respect human rights,’ they are merely doing a repeat of the former administration’s Oplan Bantay Laya,” Ipong concluded. ###