The group Kapatid (sibling) was formed in 1978 as a response to a crackdown on political activists during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos.
More than 40 years later, during the organization’s relaunch on June 15, activists noted that there were still more than 500 political prisoners languishing in prison.
“Political prisoners are a symbol of unpeace and injustice,” said former senator Wigberto Tanada. “They must be freed,” he said.
He said “the criminalization of political dissent is a carryover from the martial law years.”
“That this policy has survived into the present speaks volumes about the current state of human rights and justice under this administration,” the former legislator added.
Chito Gascon, chairman of the Commission on Human Rights, said the existence of political prisoners is not acceptable in a democratic society.
“This is not appropriate for any society that claims to be free and democratic,” said Gascon. “Those arrested only stood for their freedom and their rights,” he added.
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