Friday, June 22, 2012

Stop the torture, maltreatment of Ka Bart--CPP

From the Website of PRWC

Stop the torture, maltreatment of Ka Bart--CPP

Information Bureau
Communist Party of the Philippines
June 20, 2012 

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) condemned the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for the continuing torture and maltreatment of political prisoner Tirso "Ka Bart" Alcantara inside the Fort Bonifacio military detention center. The CPP reiterated its demand for the immediate release of Ka Bart in accordance with the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) between the Philippine government (GPH) and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).

Ka Bart is among 14 NDFP peace talks consultants currently detained by the GPH in various prisons nationwide. He was arrested in January 2011 on the eve of consultations between the NDFP and the GPH in preparation for the resumption of formal talks.

In a recent report issued by the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), Ka Bart complained that aside from being served high-fat and extremely salty meals, the food is neither clean nor well-cooked. "The chicken I was served was still bloody and the fish still had its innards," said Ka Bart in a signed affidavit. "On December 20, 2011, after eating papaya, my mouth grew swollen and felt numb as if it was anaesthesized."

"Once, during lunch in March 2012, three match sticks were mixed in with the fish soup," said Ka Bart who also said he was once served food with shards of broken glass and crawling ants.

Ka Bart suspects he is slowly being poisoned through the food he is being served in prison. From January to June this year, he suffered from numbness and headaches on several occasions after eating the meals provided by the military.

"On occasion, I was being made to take medication for headaches and colds even though I was suffering from neither condition," said Ka Bart. He further narrated that he suffered from hypertension on March 10. The doctor who checked him up refused to identify himself. He was hooked up to an electro-cardiogram (ECG) machine. Subsequently, he was given medication that resulted in nausea, headaches and body tremors. When he told the doctor of his symptoms the morning after, these were dismissed as a result of the ECG, a complete falsehood.

For no apparent reason, Ka Bart's eyeglasses were taken from him on November 21, 2011 and returned only on May 26, 2012, making him suffer from poor vision for six months.

"The inhumane treatment and continuing torture of Ka Bart must be put to a stop," said the CPP. "The Filipino people must train their attention on the conditions of Ka Bart as well as the more than 350 political prisoners who continue to suffer from unjust incarceration."

"Ka Bart's continued imprisonment inside a military camp is a violation of his civil and political rights even under the laws of the reactionary government," added the CPP. According to SELDA, Ka Bart should at least be moved to a civilian detention center and be provided with easier access to doctors and lawyers. It pointed out that military authorities have been giving Ka Bart's visitors a hard time everytime they want to pay him a visit, at times, telling them to first seek a permit from the Office of the President and the AFP chief of staff.

The CPP demanded Ka Bart's immediate release as part of the Philippine government's obligations under JASIG which protects peace negotiators and personnel of either side from surveillance, arrest and prosecution in order to provide a favorable atmosphere for negotiations.

"Ka Bart's release will give a big boost to peace negotiations which the NDF is trying hard to resuscitate after being stalled for more than a year," added the CPP.