Prisoners’ welfare advocacy group Kapatid has expressed fears that the Anti-Terrorism bill will cause the rise in the number of political prisoners in the country.
“We already have 619 political prisoners who include human rights activists, trade unionists, peace advocates, and who suffer the brunt of repression by this government,” said Kapatid spokesperson Fides Lim in a statement.
“We do not need laws that will enable this regime to imprison more Filipinos on the basis of fabricated charges,” she stressed.
Lim said the Anti-Terrorism bill is a gross attempt to weaponize the law against dissenting voices and organized opposition.”
“The bill will systematize the crackdown on any form of dissent and likely increase the number of political prisoners in the country,” the spokesperson warned.
Kapatid has been advocating the release of political prisoners in the country and currently has a pending petition before the Supreme Court (SC) seeking the temporary release of 22 political prisoners who are vulnerable to the 2019 coronavirus (COVID-19).
“What we need is the enforcement of the rule of law by safeguarding democratic rights and freedoms and repudiating impunity that has allowed abusers to perpetrate terror and evade the bar of justice,” LIm stated.