(Urgent Alert) Philippines: A Lawyer and Human Rights Defender was Arrested During Forced Eviction of Residents in Mandaue City, Cebu Province
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Atty. Jose Aaron Pedrosa, Jr., 29, a Board Member of the human rights organization Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) and leader of the multi-sectoral organization SANLAKAS, was arrested in Sitio Mahayag, Barangay Subang Daku, Mandaue City on November 25, 2014 at around 1:45pm. He was arrested by more or less twenty (20) police officers headed by a certain Miguel Andiza while pleading to the police to stop harassing the residents over yet another case of forced eviction against them. According to Pedrosa, the police attempted to drag the residents, most of whom were women, into the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) vehicle. Atty. Pedrosa was brought to Police Station 2, Mandaue and charged with Obstruction of Justice.
Aside from Atty. Pedrosa, a community leader named Jessica A. Zuniga, 22 years old, was also arrested.
We now urge government authorities for the immediate release of Atty. Jose Aaron Pedrosa and Jessica A. Zuniga, since the main reason for their arbitrary detention is to suppress their activities in defense of human rights. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of both Atty. Pedrosa, and Ms. Zuniga, as well as of all human rights defenders in the Philippines. And, put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Atty. Aaron Pedrosa, Ms. Zuniga and all human rights defenders to ensure in all circumstances that they are able to carry out their work without any hindrance and fear of reprisals.
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