Jose Maria Sison is released, but the struggle for his rights still needs support

After 16 days in solitary confinement, Philippine revolutionary Jose Maria Sison was released from detention by a Dutch court. He was arrested on August 28 in a coordinated action that included massive police raids on six apartments and the international information office of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in the Dutch city of Utrecht. Supposedly, this huge operation was justified by the fact that he would have ordered the killing of two people in the Philippines several years ago, something he has always denied.

On Thursday, September 13, the District Court of The Hague decided that Sison should be released from custody immediately as “the files do not contain sufficient concrete indications that the accused incited others to commit these serious offences”. His release comes after protest actions against his unjust arrest were held in 20 countries.

Upon his release, Sison declared once more his innocence on “the false and politically-motivated charge” leveled against him. He explicitly stated that murder is against his moral and political principles, and he thanked the Dutch, Filipino and other peoples for their solidarity and support.

While the release of Jose Maria Sison is a victory for progressives and revolutionaries in Europe, the Dutch public prosecutor, with the help of the Philippine and US authorities, will pursue the judicial case against him. While Sison vowed to conduct his legal defense and further clear his name, an international team of lawyers, including former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark, is ready to assist him.

The New Communist Party Netherlands and the Workers’ Party of Belgium call on the Dutch authorities to drop all charges against Jose Maria Sison, to return all seized materials and not to share any of the information thus obtained with the Philipppine or US authorities, in order not to endanger the lives of innocent people in the Philippines. We demand that Jose Maria Sison be removed from the EU ‘terrorist’ list, in accordance with the recent decision of the European Court of First Instance in Luxemburg, which ruled that his rights and safeguards as well as proper procedures had been violated by the Council of the European Union’s putting him on that list.

We demand that Jose Maria Sison and other Filipino progressives in Europe be given the opportunity, as Sison expressed it upon his release, to “continue to work for national freedom, human rights, social justice and an enduring, because just, peace in the Philippines”. We call on democratic, progressive and revolutionary forces in Europe to continue and broaden their support and solidarity, and to be vigilant for similar attacks on civil liberties and democratic rights.

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