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Detained poet in plea for farmers

Ericson Acosta appeals to Archbishop of Cebu to help free five men accused of being communist rebels

Families and friends of poet Ericson Acosta call for his release from detention. (Photo: Pinoy Weekly) Families and friends of poet Ericson Acosta call for his release from detention. (Photo: Pinoy Weekly)
  • D'Jay Lazaro, Manila
  • Philippines
  • May 16, 2011
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A detained poet suspected of having links to communist rebels, has called on Archbishop Jose Palma of Cebu to intervene in the case of five jailed farmers in Samar province.

Ericson Acosta, who was arrested on February 13, said the farmers have been in military custody for years having also been accused of links with New People's Army (NPA) rebels.

In a statement released today, Acosta thanked human rights groups and Church organizations for not only highlighting his case but also for giving "due attention" to the plight of other political prisoners, especially the five farmers.

Local human rights group, Katungod (Rights), said the five farmers were accused of involvement in an ambush staged by the NPA.

Acosta appealed to Archbishop Palma to look into human rights issues in Samar, since the prelate once served the province as bishop.

Artists' groups earlier called for the immediate release of Acosta and the farmers.

The continued detention of Acosta and the farmers "allows the culture of impunity to continue" in this country.

Acosta’s statement comes on the heels of international rights group, Amnesty International’s annual report on Friday, which said rights violations in the Philippines have still to be addressed a year after President Benigno Aquino took office.

PM14234

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