NLG demands release of Gabnet 3 – US-based activists being held in the Philippines

On August 5, Dr. Annalisa Enrile, a U.S. citizen, was stopped from boarding her return flight home to Los Angeles from Manila. Dr. Enrile is the national chair of GABNet. Two other leaders of GABNet who are scheduled to depart on Tuesday, August 14, are reportedly also on the hold list: internationally acclaimed writer Ninotchka Rosca, a US Legal Permanent Resident, and human rights activist Judith Mirkinson, a U.S. citizen.

The “GABNet 3” were in the Philippines attending an international women’s conference; Dr. Enrile had also brought University of Southern California graduate students on a summer immersion program. Enrile intends to again attempt to depart from the Manila airport with Rosca and Mirkinson on Tuesday. The Philippine Government appears to have targeted the GABNet 3 for their work garnering international attention to human rights violations by the Arroyo regime. The GABNet 3 led American women lawyers on a human rights fact finding delegation to the Philippines in 2006; the delegation published a report implicating the Arroyo regime in the extrajudicial assassinations of close to 900 activists and exposing the groundless nature of Arroyo’s criminal prosecutions of opposition legislators, including Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Maza. All of the members of the 2006 National Lawyers Guild / GABNet delegation have reportedly been placed on this same list, which was used to keep international human rights lawyers from from ENTERING the Philippines during the South East Asian Nations Summit in January, 2007.

“It’s clear that the Philippine government, led by Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, is desperately trying to intimidate and silence international solidarity,” GABNet Secretary General Doris Mendoza said, “especially those focusing on the countless human rights violations and political killings. But our membership and allies are now even more determined. For us, this harrassment of the GABNet 3 re-confirms the undemocratic and unjust character of this US-backed Macapagal Arroyo regime.”

On Monday, August 13, 2007, vigils will take place at Philippine Consular Offices in four cities to demand that the 3 be taken off the “hold” list and allowed to board flights home on Tuesday.

The NLG and GABNet are also calling on concerned individuals and organizations to contact their Senators and Representatives to urge the safe return of the GABNet 3; and to fax the US Embassy, American Citizen Service, at 011-632-522-3242 and US Ambassador Kenney, at 011-632-522-4361.

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