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PHL to deport Aussie prof who 'joined protests' —rights watchdog

The Philippines will deport an 84-year-old Australian law professor and human rights advocate after blacklisting him for allegedly joining local protest actions and fact-finding missions, rights watchdog group Karapatan said Wednesday.

Karapatan said Gill Boehringer, formerly the head of law school of Sydney's Macquarie University, has been held by the Bureau of Immigration (BI) upon his arrival at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport around midnight of Wednesday.

"The professor is set to be deported after being told that he was among those blacklisted, allegedly for joining protest actions and fact finding missions in the Philippines," Karapatan said in a statement.

Immigration spokesperson Dana Sandoval said she is still gathering information about the incident.

According to his bio on the Athens Institute for Education and Research website, Boehringer has taught and researched in universities in the United States, Northern Ireland, England, and Tanzania. He has also purportedly served as an international election observer in the Philippines in 2007, 2010, and 2013.

Karapatan added that the professor, who is married to a Filipina, has been campaigning on human rights issues since the Arroyo presidency, including the plight of the indigenous peoples of Mindanao.

Boehringer's case follows that of Australian missionary Patricia Fox, who is still appealing against a deportation order grounded on alleged violations of the terms of her visa. She is also accused of joining protests and fact-finding missions. 

Methodist missionaries from the US, Zimbabwe, and Malawi were likewise recently expelled or ordered to leave the country in connection with alleged involvement in "leftist-organized activities."

“We call on immigration authorities to respect the rights of Prof. Boehringer, including his right to due process and to have access to his family, lawyers and doctors, and his rights as a human rights defender," said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.

"We call on authorities to stop Prof. Boehringer’s deportation and immediately repeal all orders violating the people’s basic and fundamental rights, regardless of nationality. This is the Duterte regime’s paranoia. The regime is showing its cracks, defensive and scared to be buried under the weight of its own crimes against the Filipino people,” she said. — MDM, GMA News