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Pressure pa more! US Senator Durbin repeats call to Duterte: Release De Lima now

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United States Senator Dick Durbin is stepping up the pressure on the Philippine government to release Senator Leila De Lima by making an appeal to what he called the “Duterte regime” before the US Senate.

In a privilege speech Wednesday (January 9), Durbin urged the Philippine government to “assure a quick and credible trial for Senator De Lima, or simply do the right thing and release her.”

Durbin said De Lima’s release “is an easy and honorable way forward” rather than “threaten” Americans with visa requirements.

“In the end, her freedom and the end of government harassment of journalists like Maria Ressa will be an important test of whether cherished democratic norms we share with our long-standing Filipino allies will be respected by President Duterte,” he said.

Duterte has ordered a ban on Durbin and fellow US Senators Patrick Leahy and Edward Markey for campaigning for De Lima’s release.

Durbin and Leahy were also behind the insertion of a provision in the US national budget for 2020 banning the entry of De Lima’s jailers into the US.

De Lima has been detained at Camp Crame since February 2017 over drug charges.

Durbin said he and his two Democrat colleagues were not the only ones calling for De Lima’s release.

“Who’s behind her release? Not just Senator Leahy, Durbin, and Markey, and many of our colleagues, but also Amnesty International, the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission, and the Raoul Wallenberg Center [for Human Rights],” he said.

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