Save, bring home Mary Jane
The eve of the arraignment of Mary Jane Veloso’s traffickers on the human trafficking charges filed against them makes for an opportune time to remind the Philippine government of its duty to save her life and bring her home.
A few months from today, Mary Jane will have suffered six long years of injustice, and not too long ago, she was almost executed for a crime she was unwittingly set up, while those who wronged her are yet to plead before the court and face the bar of justice.
The Philippine government should see to it that Mary Jane’s cry will not drown in all the fanfare of the upcoming elections, or trifled with as it has been done by the government in the past years.
It is also with dismay that we note the snail’s pace at which Mary Jane’s cases have so far proceeded in the Philippines, due mainly to the high-handed dilatory legal tactics that the defense lawyers of Mary Jane’s human traffickers have overzealously resorted to before the court. While we certainly respect the rights of the accused, we frown upon such fanatical defense that not only disrupts the dispensation of justice, but also causes its miscarriage.
We, at the International Association of Democratic Lawyers (IADL), thus call on the Philippine government to exert all efforts to expedite the prosecution of Mary Jane’s traffickers in the Philippines. Likewise, we respectfully entreat the Indonesian government to keep Mary Jane’s reprieve in effect for as long as the legal proceedings in the Philippines are going on, and/or to magnanimously grant her clemency on both legal and humanitarian grounds.
The IADL, a nongovernment organization with consultative status at the UN Economic and Social Council and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, has been vigilantly following Mary Jane’s case. Human rights lawyers from its member-organization, the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers, have been advocating for Mary Jane’s life and liberty.
—JEANNE MIRER, president, International Association of Democratic Lawyers, [email protected]
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