RP Military Denies Torturing Civilians In Jolo Island

September 2, 2007 at 3:31 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

JOLO ISLAND, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / 02 Sept) – The Philippine military denied Sunday reports that soldiers tortured civilians arrested on suspicion they had links with Abu Sayyaf militants tied to al-Qaeda terror network.

Troops were accused of torturing eight children and their parents last month after being arrested in Jolo island, where security forces were hunting down Abu Sayyaf militants blamed for the spate of killings and kidnappings in the southern Philippines.

“The reports are not true and the military is not engage and will not engage in torture. We always uphold the rights of every civilian,” Army Brig. Gen. Ruperto Pabustan, whose group was implicated in the torture, told the Mindanao Examiner.

Regional Social Welfare Secretary Bai Racma Imam, who was also quoted in the reports, also denied statements attributed to her.

“I did not say anything. I did not accuse the military of torture and the reports are simply not true. My lawyer will issue a statement about this report,” Imam said in a separate interview.

The report quoted a defeated politician in Jolo island as the source of the news. The report published in a newspaper in Manila was also picked up by foreign media.

Philippine military chief Gen. Hermogenes Esperon also ordered the military in Jolo island to explain the accusation. Pabustan said they submitted their reports and flatly denied the allegations. (Mindanao Examiner)

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