Shalmali Guttal on behalf of Focus on the Global South
All of you must have heard/read about the arrest and harassment of Prof. Walden Belo by the Sara Duterte campaign-crew. The persecution had already started a few months ago when they tagged him a narco—which has life threatening implications. They then filed a cyber libel suit against Walden for his demands for public accountability.
More recently, Walden was arrested on Monday, August 8 on the cyber libel charges. The arrest was done late afternoon, when it was too late to post bail. This is an old tactic of forcing people to spend nights in jail. The following day the judge hearing the bail order was absent for a while, but finally, he was released on bail.
You can read details in many press reports so I won’t go into those details here. For now, I am sharing some suggestions for action:
1. Focus on the Global South has prepared a statement for international sign on by individuals and organisations. You can find it here: Focus Statement
There’s a link in the statement to a google form for the sign-ons. We request all of you to endorse the statement and share it widely for more endorsements. Please sign on through this form, and not by replying to me.
2. We have prepared a fact-sheet to accompany the statement, so readers not familiar with the case understand the case: Fact Sheet/Case Brief
Please share this among your networks and organisations
3. We have prepares a press release highlighting the breadth of responses to Walden’s persecution, and to generate more international attention and responses: Press Release
Please share this among your networks and organisations.
4. We will continue to post statements in support of Walden at this micro-site on the Focus website: https://focusweb.org/defending-rights/ Please share with us the different statements you come across, or that your organisations release.
5. Contributions to Walden’s legal defense are urgently needed. All contributions to Walden’s legal defense fund should go through the Laban ng Masa [the Philippine social movement that Walden helped create and that he now chairs] account that they have publicized in their twitter and social media. Below is the information.
Please use the following bank account details for your transfers (this time with the email and postal address of the recipient):
Acct Name: Antonia B. Garcia
Acct No: 6714 0205 85
Bank: BPI Family Savings Bank
Bank Branch: Isidora Hills, Diliman
Swift Code: BOPIPHMM
Postal address: 70 Encarnacion St BF Homes Barangay Holy Spirit Quezon City 1127 Philippines
6. We believe that loud, aggressive and strong international attention must be generated that condemns the case against Walden, his arrest, and the increasing attacks on the rights to free speech and human rights defenders. We will develop more material on this.
We request all of you to keep up the pressure on the case and generate multiple statements, petitions, social media posts, etc. Please keep following the Laban ng Masa and Focus updates on these.
Please also share your suggestions and strategies for action, and take action, no need to wait.
Thank you and in solidarity