Justice for Joma pickets held in Ottawa & Toronto

Reza, former political prisoner during time of Shah in Iran, explains his support of Prof. Jose Maria Sison to Dutch Embassy official in Ottawa on September 26, 2007

The Justice for Joma Committee – Canada held picket lines in front of the Embassy of The Netherlands in Ottawa and their consulate in Toronto on September 26, 2007 to protest attempts by Dutch authorities to put Prof. Jose Maria Sison back in jail.

The protest actions were held in Canada and elsewhere to expose a decision by Dutch prosecutors to appeal a recent decision to release Prof. Sison from a Dutch prison and attempt to put him back behind bars.

Prof. Sison, a vocal critic of the Philippine government and their backers in Washington who has lived as a political refugee in the Netherlands for the past 20 years, was arrested by Dutch police on trumped up murder charges on August 28, 2007. Following world wide protests a Dutch court (District Court in The Hague) ordered him released on September 13, 2007 because of lack of evidence directly linking him to the crime of incitement to murder in the Philippines.

In Ottawa, a former political prisoner from Iran told an Embassy official that he was very concerned about the attempts to re-arrest Prof. Joma Sison.

“As a political refugee here in Canada I am very worried that if the Dutch government manages once again to criminalize the political work of Prof. Sison, perhaps the same tricks will be used against refugees like me in other countries,” he said. “I thought Holland was a safe country for political refugees, so I am surprised to see you copying the American model of criminalizing political struggle and arresting and mistreating people who fight for justice.”

“As someone who spent three years imprisoned and tortured for my political beliefs, I feel very strongly about this case and would be ready to give up my place here in Canada for Prof. Sison if you refuse to allow him to live safely and peacefully in the Netherlands!”

Michael Pestman, the Dutch lawyer for Prof. Sison, has reported that “no new evidence was presented” during the hearing on the appeal of Dutch prosecutors to try to reverse the earlier decision of the Dutch court releasing Sison.

According to reports, the court will come out with a decision on the Dutch prosecutor’s appeal on October 3, 2007. The Justice for Joma Committee – Canada and other organizations have every intention of keeping up the pressure until all charges are dropped against Prof. Sison.


27 September 2007

The Netherlands Court of Appeals heard arguments yesterday on whether Professor Jose Maria Sison should remain free or be returned to prison. The court decision will be released 9:30 am on Wednesday, 3 October.

The Dutch government prosecutors appealed the 13 September decision of The Hague District Court which released Prof. Sison from prison. The District Court declared that the prosecutors did not have sufficient evidence to prove charges that Prof. Sison ordered the killing of Romulo Kintanar in 2003 and Arturo Tabara in 2004.

The Court of Appeals yesterday heard arguments from the Dutch government prosecutor, and from defense counsel Michiel Pestman. The three-member panel of judges also gave Prof. Sison an opportunity to present his statement in court. Also present in the courtroom was Prof. Sison's wife, Julie de Lima.

Prof. Sison and his defense counsel Michiel Pestman of the famous Böhler, Franken, Koppe, Wijngaarden law firm expressed confidence that the decision of The Hague District Court would be upheld because the prosecution failed to present any direct evidence or argument that could cause its reversal by the Court of Appeals. However, they refrained from going into any detail because the appeal is still sub judice.

Representatives of member-organizations of the Defend Jose Maria Sison Campaign network from the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, held a picket outside the court house to denounce the continuing persecution of Prof. Sison and to demand the dropping of the false charges against him.

Committee DEFEND International

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