A Dutch court today again dealt a blow against leftist leader Jose Maria Sison’s tormentors by rejecting an appeal by prosecutors who questioned his release.
Prior to this, Dutch investigators visited the Philippines and spoke with the Philippine National Police which boasted of having solid evidence against Sison who the European Union considers as a political refugee.
Sison was freed Sept. 13 after the court found the insufficient evidence against him to warrant being placed in continued custody. He was arrested on August 28, at the same time the Dutch police raided the international office of the National Democratic Front and houses of other NDF personnel.
Below is an unofficial translation of the Dutch official press release:
Appeal to put Sison in detention rejected
The Hague, 3 October 2007 – The Court of Appeal in Den Haag today rejected the appeal of the public prosecution to put Sison in detention. The Court dismissed that demand. Sison, a long-time resident in the Netherlands, is alleged to be the leader of the Communist Party of the Philippines. He is accused of giving the order for the assassination attacks in 2003 and 2004 in the Philippines on a number of dissident leaders of that party, or inciting those attacks. The attacks were supposed to have been carried out by a unit of the National People’s Army (NPA), a part of the CPP.
The Court also supports the decision of the district court that “serious accusations” are not present to compel the application of temporary custody against the suspect. The court has indeed determined that the dossier contains numerous indications that Sison, during his stay in the Netherlands, continued to fulfil a prominent role within the CPP. The court finds that the position of Sison within the party in its generality is not (yet) sufficient to merit serious accusations or confirm his criminal responsibility. The dossier does not sufficiently provide concrete proof that will establish Sison to have any form of direct connection to the commission of the assassination attacks.
The Court has also found that the accusations with regard to the time period as very indefinite and could not be considered reliable. It is in this connection that the Court points to the possible political context of the facts and circumstances that the accussing statements were gathered the Philippines.
The Court points out further that the investigation can take a long time and it is not sure if the defense can sufficiently exercise its right to cross examination.