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    Karapatan to Pnoy: Stop retaliatory tactics against the Morong 43 on hunger strike!

    *Female warden disallows visit of doctor of detainee’s choice*

    The national human rights alliance Karapatan today called on the attention
    of the Philippine government authorities to stop the retaliatory tactics
    against the hunger strike staged by the Morong 43 political prisoners in the
    Camp Bagong Diwa detention center.

    Today is the third day of the healthworkers’ hunger strike for their
    release. Karapatan particularly cited Camp Bagong Diwa Jail Warden Senior
    Inspector Mary Jane Clemente’s refusal to allow doctors to check up on the
    detained Morong 43 women.

    According to Jigs Clamor, Karapatan acting secretary general and husband of
    one of the female doctor detainees, Jail Warden Clemente told the relatives
    that prison officials already have Bureau of Jail Management and Penology
    (BJMP) doctors monitoring the detainees, so doctors from Council for Health
    and Development (CHD) and Community Medicine Foundation (COMMED), health
    groups supporting the detained healthworkers, are not needed to check the
    detainees’ conditions anymore.

    “Warden Clemente’s excuse that they already have doctors monitoring the
    conditions of the detainees on hunger strike is an outright lie, specially
    since, on the second day, an inmate was brought to my wife, Dr. Merry Mia
    Clamor, for check-up!” he deplored.

    Jane Beltran Balleta, a member of the Morong 43 and who is fasting, had
    already suffered an epileptic seizure yesterday.

    “The detainees have a right to be attended to by doctors of their own
    choice,” Clamor said. “And Warden Clemente must allow the detainees to
    exercise this right even if they are on hunger strike.”

    Karapatan also denounced the imposed stricter visitation policies on the
    women detainees. On Saturday, the women detainees were not allowed to be
    visited as a group, instead they were only called one by one.

    The Morong 43 detainees at Camp Bagong Diwa, Bicutan Taguig, went on hunger
    strike and fasting since December 3, to protest their continued illegal
    arrest, detention, torture and ill-treatment. Karapatan, and other local and
    international civil society groups, including the leaders of the World
    Council of Churches, support the calls for the freedom of the 43 health
    workers.

    “We reiterate our call, together with Senator Joker Arroyo, Rep. Erin Tanada
    and partylist representatives, international as well as local groups and
    civil society organizations, to the President and to Justice Secretary Leila
    De Lima, to release the Morong 43 immediately, as a way to correct a most
    grievous violation of their rights as human beings and as citizens of this
    country,” Clamor added. “In fact, the present administration must review
    the cases of the 371 political prisoners all over the country who must also
    be released; detaining people for their political beliefs must not be
    resorted to by a government which calls itself “democratic,” Clamor
    concluded. ###
    *———————————————————————
    PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
    publicinfo@karapatan.org
    ———————————————————————
    Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
    2nd Flr. Erythrina Bldg., #1 Maaralin corner Matatag Sts., Central District
    Diliman, Quezon City, PHILIPPINES 1101
    Telefax: (+63 2) 4354146
    Web: http://www.karapatan.org

    KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human
    rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual
    advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and
    civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights
    violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and
    campaign. It was established in 1995.

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