Australian nun released after arrest in Philippines for 'illegal political activities'

By On April 17, 2018

Australian nun released after arrest in Philippines for 'illegal political activities'

Philippines Australian nun released after arrest in Philippines for 'illegal political activities'

Lawyer says Sister Patricia Fox, 71, has ‘done nothing wrong’ after she was taken from her house to immigration bureau

Sister Patricia Fox, the Australian nun detained in the Philippines
Friends of Sister Patricia Fox, centre, say they are shocked that Rodrigo Duterte’s government has arrested the Australian nun, who has lived in the Philippines for more than 27 years. Photograph: Facebook/Renato Reyes

An Australian nun who spent 24 hours detained for “illegal politi cal activities” in the Philippines has been released.

Sister Patricia Cox’s lawyer, Jobert Ilarde Pahilga, says an order was made for her release on Tuesday afternoon, a day after the nun was taken from her house to the immigration bureau in Manila.

Pahilga said the 71-year-old had “done nothing wrong” and would not be deported, but said the case has not been dismissed and will be investigated further.

Fox was taken from her house to the immigration bureau in Manila on Monday, the secretary general of the leftist Bayan (Nation) movement, Renato Reyes, revealed.

Friends of the nun say they are shocked that Rodrigo Duterte’s government has arrested the “gentle soul”, who has lived in the Philippines for more than 27 years.

Pahilga said she was arrested because the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency complained she was an “undesirable alien” because she had joined a rally against the government in Tagum City.

But Pahilga said the nun did not join the rally and was visiting farmers and indigenous people in the area as part of her missionary work.

“[She] has done nothing wrong or illegal that would warrant her arrest, detention and possible deportation,” he said on Tuesday. “She is a human rights and a genuine agrarian reform advocate who tirelessly provided various social service to farmers including the farmers of Hacienda Luisita.”

The chairman of the International Coalition for Human Rights, Peter Murphy, who has known Fox for years and travelled with her in the Philippines, was shocked by her arrest.

“She’s a very gentle soul … a really quiet and unassuming character,” Murphy said from Sydney. “It’s pretty outstanding they have decided to hit her with a sledgehammer.”

Fox’s detention came a day after Giacomo Filibeck, a Socialist party official from the European Union who had criticised Duterte’s brutal anti-drugs crackdown, was deported.

“Pat is a small fry in comparison,” Murphy said. “She’s not a prominent person in terms of public denunciations of the government.”

Murphy, who most recently travelled to the Philippines in February, said the detention centre where Fox was being held was “a cage jammed full of people”.

“It’s a horrific location,” he said.

Australia’s foreign affairs department “is aware an Australian woman was arrested in the Philippines”, a spokeswoman said.

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Source: Google News Philippines | Netizen 24 Philippines

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