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‘Dutch gov’t won’t violate international law’– Joma Sison

LUCENA CITY, Quezon, Philippines — Exiled Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria “Joma” Sison has expressed confidence that the Philippine government could not reach him in Europe and force his return to the country.

“The Dutch government and EU (European Union) will not violate international law just to accommodate a tyrant and mass murderer like [President Rodrigo] Duterte,” Sison said.

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In a statement, Sison said Interior Secretary Eduardo Año did not understand how his status as a protected political refugee worked.

“As a recognized [political refugee] I am well protected by the Geneva Refugee Convention and by the European Convention on Human Rights whose Article 3 gave me absolute protection from being put at any risk of being subjected to torture and other inhumane and cruel treatment,” Sison said in a statement from his base in Utrecht in the Netherlands on Monday.

Warrants of arrest

Sison was reacting to Año’s statement that he had spoken with a deputy ambassador of the European Union to ask that Sison’s status as a refugee in the Netherlands be revoked so he could be extradited to the Philippines to face murder charges.

Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 32 Judge Thelma Bunyi-Medina has issued warrants of arrest against Sison and 37 other rebel leaders for the killing of New People’s Army rebels suspected as government spies in the 1980s, whose remains were discovered in a mass grave in Inopacan, Leyte, in 2006.

But Sison insisted that when the alleged Inopacan massacre occurred in 1985, he was under maximum security detention.

“As soon as I was arrested in 1977, I lost my position in the CPP and was held under maximum security detention by the military,” he argued.

Sison also noted that there is no extradition treaty between the Philippines and the Netherlands.

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