‘Rights’ group seeks release of detained Moro suspects

By , on June 1, 2016

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – A human rights group here on Wednesday appealed to President-elect Rodrigo Duterte to release 200 suspected Moro terrorists.

The Suara Bangsamoro and Kawagib Moro Human Rights issued the appeal in response to Duterte’s plan to grant “general, unconditional, and omnibus amnesty to political prisoners in the country.”

According to Amirah Ali Lidasan, Suara Bangsamoro national president, that since 2001, about 200 Moro men were incarcerated after they were perceived to be members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG).

ASG is a terror group accused of kidnap for ransom and the propensity of beheading victims who failed to deliver the ransom money.

Lidasan said that the state forces arrested the Moro men on suspicion of being sympathizers and coddlers of the ASG.

She said that the government’s anti-terror policy and Department of Justice’s memorandum that extended to those who fed and “supported” the local terrorists has resulted in the arrest and detention of about 200 Moros in the country.

“The arrest extended in Basilan, Sulu, Zamboanga Peninsula, Manila and other parts of Mindanao,” Lidasan said.

She said that the Moro Human Rights group has documented 32 cases, out of the 200 arrests, to forcibly confess and sign documents admitting that they were ASG members.

For 15 years, more than 94 Moro prisoners have been awaiting the final decision of the local courts, whether to charge them with kidnapping along with the real Abu Sayyaf men or to release them due to lack of evidence, Lidasan said.

She said that “through the amnesty program of [Duterte], justice would be rendered to the victims, which would also help the possible resolution of conflict in the Moro areas in Mindanao.”