Photo taken by Karapatan
Women rights activists Andrea Rosal & Miradel Torres were illegally arrested by Philippines authorities a year ago – because of their involvement in human rights issues and work for social justice. They both were pregnant when they were detained. After undergoing many agonies, Andrea Rosal is finally freed. However the battle did not end to Miradel Torres. She and her baby are unjustly languishing in jail to date.
Miradel Torres is a women’s rights activist who was arrested in June 2014 on a trumped-up murder charge in the Philippines. To date she and her baby Karl have been incarcerated in inhumane jail conditions. Torres was four months pregnant when she was arrested. Within two months of being born baby Karl was placed in a jail cell – for a crime his mother didn’t commit.
Torres is a brave woman who stood up against social injustice and human rights violations in the Philippines. No woman could imagine spending her pregnancy and bringing up her new born in a badly conditioned jail to a charge that has no basis.
On June 20, 2014 Torres was arrested by CIDG (Criminal Investigation and Detention Group) and Southern Luzon Command (solCOM). A few men forcibly entered her home at Lucena city, Quezon province and captured her – at that time she was discharged from the hospital only 2 days ago after she was admitted to the hospital due to extreme bleeding. Torres was neither shown the arrest warrant at the time of her arrest nor were her relatives informed where she was taken. Only 2 days later they found her at the Solcom headquarters in Lucena city. Her mother’s request to visit her or to be with her to take care of her needs was denied by the authorities.
Torres has been falsely charged with murder and frustrated murder at the Infanta Regional Trial Court, Quezon province. Torres was falsely alleged as a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) by the police. However human rights organizations believe that she was arrested due to her involvement to human rights issues as an activist. Torres belongs to Gabriela group which advocates for women’s issues.
On June 25, despite she was asked by her doctor to take complete bed rest due to threatened abortion she was forced to travel four hours and transferred to Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City. Her unique needs as a pregnant woman were fully denied and she ended up at a small cell that lacks even basic facilities. In November, Torres gave birth to her baby at the Philippine General Hospital, during her fifth month of detention. After two months of nursing her baby at the hospital, she was brought back to Camp Bagong Diwa with her baby on order of the court.
Torres was arrested based on a testimony given by eyewitness Pfc. Ronald M. Bamba. However, there was no mention of her true name in the said testimony. On August 5th 2015, the witness failed to mention Torre’s participation in the alleged incident during the cross examination. Consequently during the second bail hearing in September 2015, the defense has emphasized the public prosecutor’s failure to identify the alleged participation of Torres.
Let us all make our voices heard and support to free the brave mother and her little son!
Let us call on Philippines authorities to stop treating Torres and her baby unjustly and bring to justice all those who intimidate human rights defenders in the Philippines!