ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME
Urgent Appeal Update: AHRC-UAU-033-2013
10 December 2013
[RE: AHRC-UAU-018-2013 PHILIPPINES : Police justify arrest and detention of an ailing man as a substitute for a wanted man because they ‘look the same’]
PHILIPPINES : An ailing man detained for another man freed today
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest and detention; fabrication of charges; prosecution system; right to fair trial; victim assistance & protection
The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is pleased to inform you that an ailing man whom we reported earlier to have been arrested and detained in place of another man wanted for murder will be released today. The police arrested him, not because he was the real suspect, but because he ‘looked the same’ so they could claim the bounty for the arrest of a wanted man.
In an email received by the AHRC today, Rita Melecio, deputy director of Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP), has informed us that Mohjeennar Dagam Cabalo, (35), whom the police arrested while he was being treated for a heart ailment in a hospital on 5 March this year, will be released today together with five other detainees.
“Mujeenar will be released this afternoon (December 10). Our staff is presently assisting him and is working out for his release (from detention). Mujeenar will be released together with five other detainees. At present, the (court is) is still preparing the certification for their release; and (once it is) completed, they will released. We have yet to receive the copy of the order from the court.”
Mohjeennar was arrested, detained and falsely charged for supposedly bombing a public terminal in Kidapawan City on October 5, 2007. In our previous appeals, AHRC-UAU-018-2013 and AHRC-FUA-001-2013, we reported that Mujeenar was not the real person subject for arrest, and that his arrest was done so the police can claim the reward money. The real accused, Aman Kabalu, has a USD 32,000 bounty on his head for his arrest.
To justify his arrest, the police produced Tukan Dogongan, a former rebel, as their witness for the prosecution. It was Tukan who claimed that Mujeenar and “Aman Kabalu” are the same person by merely looking at the photograph they took of him during its covert surveillance at his village in Isabela, Basilan province.
The TFDP and the AHRC wish to thank those who supported the case of Mohjeennar. We will inform you of further details about this case once they are received.
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