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Groups urge Remulla to aid in release of female political detainees

Several groups on Thursday called for the release of women political prisoners, especially those who are elderly and sick.
The groups gathered outside the Department of Justice in Manila to air their appeal.
In a statement addressed to Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla, the groups said at least 162 out of 819 political prisoners are women “who have been persecuted on the basis of their political belief and activism for women’s rights.”
“Most of them are poor women from rural and indigenous communities who were wrongly accused of crimes and are now unjustly languishing in jails. Some of these women are elderly, sick, or have special needs,” the statement read, which was released as the country celebrated women’s month.
According to the groups, this included 68-year-old Adora de Vera, who is suffering from chronic asthma and anemia, and 34-year-old Amanda Echanis, who was arrested when she had just given birth.
“More than decongesting the country’s jails, freeing women political prisoners — in fact, all political prisoners — is a matter of delivering justice,” the statement said.
“We hope that you can help hasten the process of delivering justice for these women,” it added.
Signatories to the appeal include Gabriela deputy secretary general Cora Agovida, Zenaida Soriano of the Defend Peasant Women, Citizens Rights Watch Network convenor Ruth Manglalan, Kakay Tolentino of the BAI Indigenous Women’s Network, Tanggol Bayi convenor Maria Sol Taule, Joan Edren of the Free Our Sisters-Southern Tagalog, and Altermidya chairperson Raymund Villanueva. — VBL, GMA Integrated News