US Senate bill seeks to ban PH officials involved in De Lima detention
MANILA, Philippines — A U.S. Senate panel has approved an amendment to a bill that would prohibit entry to any Philippine government official proven to be involved in the “politically-motivated” imprisonment of Philippine Senator Leila de Lima.
In a tweet on Friday, U.S. Senator Richard Durbin welcomed the Senate appropriations committee’s approval of the amendment he proposed with Senator Patrick Leahy in the Fiscal Year 2020 State and Foreign Operations Appropriations Bill.
“Good to see the Senate Appropriations Committee pass my amendment with @SenatorLeahy (US Senator Patrick Leahy) today to prohibit entry to any Philippine Government Officials involved in the politically motivated imprisonment of Filipina Senator Leila de Lima in 2017,” he said.
Good to see the Senate Appropriations Committee pass my amendment with @SenatorLeahy today to prohibit entry to any Philippine Government Officials involved in the politically motivated imprisonment of Filipina Senator Leila de Lima in 2017. We must #FreeLeilaNow.FEATURED STORIESGLOBALNATION
— Senator Dick Durbin (@SenatorDurbin) September 26, 2019
“We must #FreeLeilaNow,” he added.
Under one of the bill’s provisions titled “Prohibition on Entry,” the U.S. Secretary of State “shall apply sub-section (c) to foreign government officials about whom the Secretary has credible information have been involved in the wrongful imprisonment of…Senator Leila de Lima who was arrested in the Philippines in 2017.”
It also sought the same to officials proven to be involved in the “wrongful” imprisonment of Mustafa Kassem, an American citizen imprisoned by the government of Egypt and “whose health is failing.”
“In addition, the Secretary shall apply such subsection to officials of the Governments of Turkey, Egypt, or Saudi Arabia about whom the Secretary has credible information have been involved in the wrongful detention of locally employed staff of a U.S. diplomatic mission or a U.S. citizen or national,” the provision further read.
Durbin has called on the Philippine government to release De Lima through a resolution he earlier filed with four other U.S. senators.
De Lima, a fierce critic of the Duterte administration has been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center inside Camp Crame in Quezon City on drug charges for over two years.
The senator has repeatedly denied the allegations against her. /muf
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