Prof. Jose Maria Sison removed from terrorist list:

Seven years of EU terrorist listing and injustice put to an end

 

Press Conference: Utrecht - Quezon City

 

October 1, 2009

 

 

Prof. Jose Maria Sison with lawyer Jan Fermon in a press conference in  The Netherlands that is broadcast on live internet TV with interactive link at the Bayan conference hall
   
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Press Statement
1 October 2009

ON THE REMOVAL OF MY NAME FROM THE EU TERRORIST BLACKLIST

By Prof. Jose Maria Sison
Chief Political Consultant, NDFP Negotiating Panel

I am very happy that the European Court of First Instance (ECFI) has annulled all the decisions and the regulation of the Council of the European Union (EU) that has kept my name in its so-called terrorist blacklist.

The ECFI has ruled that the judgments of the Dutch State Council and the Legal Uniformity Chamber about my asylum case and those of The Hague District Court Appellate Court about the false charge of murder, do not relate to the instigation of investigations or prosecution or to a conviction for terrorist activity, contrary to the requirements of European Community Law. Said court judgments in The Netherlands are in fact favorable to me but have been maliciously misinterpreted by the Council.

I thank all the people and organized forces in various countries for standing in solidarity with me in the struggle for my rights against blacklist since 2002. I thank my international battery of lawyers for providing excellent legal assistance. I thank the International DEFEND Committee for rallying support for me beyond the confines of the court.

The main point in the ECFI judgment on my Case T-341/07 against the Council of EU is the removal of my name from the blacklist. As a consequence, my small bank account is unfrozen and I am allowed to engage in financial dealings like anyone else normally does.


The ECFI judgment opens the way for me to exercise and enjoy the rights that have been curtailed and suppressed due to the false charge of terrorism.

As my lawyers and the International DEFEND Committee have pointed out, I am now in the position of being able to do the following: 1) to claim back the social payments for living allowance, housing, health insurance and old age pension which have been withdrawn from me since 2002; 2) render professional services with remuneration or seek gainful employment; 3) to secure legal admission as a refugee and a residence permit; 4) to travel freely without restrictions; 5) to be free from being demonized and stigmatized as a terrorist; and 6) to claim moral and material damages for what I have suffered since 2002.

I agree with and endorse the call of the International DEFEND Committee to all its adherents, supporters and friends to celebrate my legal victory in the European Court and at the same time to become more determined than ever before in demanding that the Dutch government, Council of the EU and certain other governments to change their hostile policy towards me. The Dutch government and the Council of the EU must cease and desist from being the vehicles of false charges and tools of persecution of the US and Philippine governments against me.

It is a matter of justice that my rights are fully respected and I am allowed to act freely and fruitfully as the chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and not be persecuted and placed under duress.###

 

Download: Decision of the European Union CFI

 

     
           
           

 

Seven years of EU terrorist listing and injustice put to an end
Luis G. Jalandoni
Chairperson
Negotiating Panel
National Democratic Front of the Philippines
October 2, 2009

The National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) Negotiating Panel warmly congratulates its Chief Political Consultant Prof. Jose Maria Sison for his resounding legal victory in the decision of the European Court of First Instance to take him off the so-called terrorist black list of the European Union. We likewise heartily congratulate his international team of lawyers led by Jan Fermon of Belgium, who tirelessly worked for seven years to effectively counter the unjust terrorist listing by the Council of the European Union.

Seven years of EU terrorist listing and injustice are put to an end! The ECFI nullified the decisions and a regulation of the Council of the EU which unjustly labeled Prof. Sison as a "terrorist". The ECFI decision of 30 September 2009 demonstrated that Prof. Sison was not the subject of any investigation or conviction for any act of terrorism and therefore the Council of the EU had no valid ground at all to put Prof. Sison on its terrorist blacklist. The Court cited the statement of the then Dutch Foreign Minister De Hoop Scheffer on 8 October 2002 before the Dutch Parliament stating there was no reason to even start a criminal investigation against Prof. Sison. The Court noted that this was done less than three weeks before the Council of the EU put Prof. Sison on its terrorist blacklist on 28 October 2002.

The unjust blacklisting of Prof. Sison and two major allied organizations of the NDFP, the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People's Army (NPA) seriously prejudiced the peace negotiations between the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP) and the NDFP. After the terrorist listing of Prof. Sison, the CPP and the NPA by the USA, the Council of the EU and some other governments, the GRP sought to divert the focus of peace talks from addressing the roots of the armed conflict through socio-economic and political reforms. It instead insisted on the NDFP to sign a so-called Final Peace Accord (FPA) it one-sidedly formulated.

The FPA disregarded ten peace agreements forged by both Parties. It was an indecent proposal for the capitulation of the NDFP, requiring the surrender of the NPA, laying aside the substantive demands of the people for social, economic and political reforms and preserving the most oppressive and exploitative characteristics of the ruling system. The then GRP Foreign Secretary, who led a GRP delegation in September 2002 to persuade European governments to follow the US and Dutch government in putting the CPP, the NPA and Prof. Sison on the European terrorist blacklist, declared: "If the NDFP signs the FPA, they will be taken off the terrorist list!"

The Arroyo regime, using the so-called war against terror, has perpetrated massive human rights violations such as extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, and uprooting of civilian communities. All these are gross violations of the GRP-NDFP Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL). Special mention is made of the use of the false charges of terrorism and common crimes to justify the persecution, abduction, torture and murder of NDFP consultants and other people.

Just as the terrorist listing has seriously jeopardized the GRP-NDFP peace negotiations, so the major legal victory of our NDFP Chief Political Consultant, in the ECFI decision to take him off the terrorist black list, creates a favorable condition for the peace talks. It will encourage peace advocates in the Philippines and abroad to push further for peace negotiations that address the roots of the armed conflict.

 

     
     
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International Committee DEFEND
International Committee to DEFEND Filipino Progressives in Europe
_____________________________________________________________________

Press Release
1 October 2009

EUROPEAN COURT REMOVES SISON
FROM EU TERRORIST BLACKLIST

The European Court of First Instance (ECFI) annulled yesterday all decisions and a regulation of the Council of the European Union (EU) that had maintained Prof. Jose Maria Sison in its so-called terrorist blacklist.

The removal of the name of Prof. Sison from the blacklist is the essence or main point of the ECFI judgment on Case T-341/07 of Prof. Sison against the Council of EU. It directly unfreezes Sison's funds in his small bank account and allows him to engage in financial dealings like any ordinary person.

To annul the acts of the Council in blacklisting Prof. Sison and freezing his account, the ECFI ruled that the national decisions done in The Netherlands and relied upon by the Council did not relate to the instigation of investigations or prosecution or to a conviction for terrorist activity, contrary to the requirements of European Community Law.

Aside from unfreezing the funds of Prof. Sison, the ECFI judgment opens the way for him to assert and enjoy all his rights that have been restricted or suppressed due to the false charge of terrorism. He can benefit from the judgment in the following ways:

1. To claim back the social payments for living allowance, housing, health insurance and old age pension which have been withdrawn from him since 2002;

2. To seek gainful employment or render professional services with remuneration;

3. To secure legal admission as a refugee and a residence permit;

4. To travel freely without restrictions;

5. To be free from being labelled and stigmatized as a terrorist; and

6. To claim moral and material damages for what he has suffered since 2002.

The International DEFEND Committee is calling on all its adherents, supporters and friends to celebrate the legal victory of Prof. Jose Maria Sison in the European Court and at the same time to become more determined than ever before in demanding that the Dutch government and Council of the EU change their hostile policy towards him.


The Dutch government and the Council of the EU must cease and desist from being the vehicles of false charges and tools of persecution of the US and Philippine governments against Prof. Jose Maria Sison. He must be allowed and encouraged to act freely and fruitfully as the chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines.###

For reference please contact:
Ruth de Leon
International Coordinator-Committee DEFEND
Telephone: 00-31-30-8895306
Email: defenddemrights@yahoo.com

_______________________________________________________________________
Email: defenddemrights@yahoo.com Website: www.defendsison.be Telephone: 00-31-30-8895306
Fax: 00-31-847589930 Address: Amsterdamsestraatweg 50, 3513 AG Utrecht, The Netherlands
 

Rita Baua of ILPS Philippines congrates Joma
Atty. Romeo Capulong
     
           

 

Streetwise*
By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo

Sweet victory for Joma

The International Committee to DEFEND Filipino progressives in Europe announced yesterday the second landmark decision of the European Court of First Instance (ECFI) on the terrorist listing of Prof. Jose Ma. Sison, publicly acknowledged leader of the revolutionary movement in the Philippines. The European Court annulled yesterday all decisions and a regulation of the Council of the European Union (EU) that had maintained Prof. Sison in its so-called terrorist blacklist.

It is nothing short of sweet, unadulterated victory for Joma and his family, the world-wide network that championed his rights against the persecutory terrorist listing by the Council of the EU, the governments of the US, the Netherlands and other countries, and all who fight for national freedom and social liberation who have been unjustly and maliciously labeled as “terrorist”.

The ECFI decision’s immediate effect is to unfreeze Mr. Sison’s small personal account that had been misrepresented by the Philippine and Dutch governments as a conduit for international support to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army that he had founded. It also restores his freedom to engage in financial transactions, something of vital importance living in a society where such dealings are an everyday fact of life. For starters, it will allow him to finally seek employment and earn a gainful living, a basic right denied him by the Dutch government since it refused to grant him asylum.

The Court decision also provides solid backing for Joma’s legal moves to claim back the social payments for living allowance, housing, health insurance and old age pension which have been withdrawn from him by the Dutch government, citing the EU Council’s blacklisting, since 2002.

According to Dutch lead lawyer Jan Fermon, the removal of the Mr. Sison’s name from the blacklist is the essence of the ECFI judgment. The Court found that the Council of the EU had unjustly maintained him in the so-called terrorist blacklist without any concrete evidence for any specific act of terrorism. The ECFI finding that there is no basis whatsoever for freezing Prof. Sison’s accounts on the grounds of terrorism means he can no longer, by any stretch of the imagination, be maintained in the EU’s blacklist either for punitive or preventive reasons.

Specifically, the ECFI rejected the claim of the prosecution that judicial proceedings in the Netherlands, where Mr. Sison had applied for political asylum and a residence permit, were sufficient ground for his terrorist listing. To wit: “The Court finds that the procedures before the Raad van State and the Rechtbank clearly do not involve any ‘conviction’ of Mr. Sison, nor do they amount to decisions to ‘instigat[e] … investigations or prosecut[e] for a terrorist act’. In fact, they were solely concerned with the review of the lawfulness of the decision of the Secretary of State for Justice refusing to grant him refugee status and a residence permit in the Netherlands. “

The latest favourable ruling by the EU Court reinforces, on the basis of facts and substantive issues, its 11 July 2007 annulment of the freezing of Prof. Sison’s funds “on the grounds that that decision had been taken in breach of the rights of defence, the obligation to state reasons and the right to effective judicial protection.” This first landmark ruling was however preempted and effectively circumvented by the Council of EU in June 2007 by giving him an official notification that he was being relisted merely to satisfy the Court’s findings that his right to due process had in fact been violated.

Moreover, the ECFI duly recognized during the oral arguments, the fact that the Dutch prosecution service, since March 2009, had already terminated its investigation into charges that Mr. Sison had ordered the killings of two former NPA commanders, due to lack of evidence. This decision was also in accord with earlier rulings by Dutch judicial authorities that found no probable cause against him and had ordered his release from detention while under investigation in September 2007.

According to DEFEND, “The aforesaid termination of prosecution is relevant to the case before the European court. It shows the lack of concrete evidence for the allegation that Prof. Sison … is culpable for any violent act of the New People's Army, despite the close collaboration of Dutch and Philippine political authorities for several years in trying to criminalize him.” It must be noted that the NPA is considered a “terrorist” organization by the Philippine government despite the lack of any law or court decision to this effect; consequently, in 2002, the EU adopted the same “terrorist’ categorization upon the instigation of US and Philippine authorities.

For seven long years, Joma has been vilified and unjustly punished by his being listed as a “terrorist”. He was prohibited from having legal residence, earning an income, receiving a living allowance, holding a house, having sufficient insurance coverage, receiving old age pension and travelling freely. He survived by virtue of the legal, political and humanitarian support extended by fellow Filipinos and human rights advocates and progressives from over the world who believe that his fight against the “terrorist” listing was a fight across national and ideological boundaries.

By this victory, Prof. Sison and his battery of brilliant, progressive lawyers have shown how it is possible to turn the tables on the seemingly formidable political clout and legal machinery of the EU and The Netherlands, with the instigation and backing of the US, that was deliberately ranged against a revolutionary leader they had singled out for persecution and neutralization.

Joma and his defenders have prevailed by invoking and upholding basic human rights as enshrined even in the liberal bourgeois constitutions and other statutes of the EU and individual countries. It must be pointed out that, historically, these rights were not handed over to the people on a silver platter by the feudal ruling classes but were paid for in blood by the exploited and oppressed. Thus they have become universal rights that the world’s peoples must assert, uphold and defend over and over again.

Joma’s legal victory must be celebrated by all freedom-loving peoples and at the same time be the occasion for renewed efforts to demand that the Dutch government and Council of the EU stop being a party to false charges against him and being complicit with the Philippine and US governments in his political persecution. #

*Published in Business World
2 - 3 October 2009

 

Rey Casambre of The Philippine Peace Centre
Carol Araullo of BAYAN
Activist from Anakbayan      
   
     
Roy Velez of Bayan - NCR Bayan staff Alvin manning the live internet facility
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