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 âdone nothing wrongâ after she was taken from her house to immigration bureau
An Australian nun who spent 24 hours detained for âillegal politi cal activitiesâ in the Philippines has been released.
Sister Patricia Coxâs 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 âdone nothing wrongâ 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 Duterteâs government has arrested the âgentle soulâ, 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 âundesirable alienâ 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.
â[She] has done nothing wrong or illegal that would warrant her arrest, detention and possible deportation,â he said on Tuesday. âShe is a human rights and a genuine agrarian reform advocate who tirelessly provided various social service to farmers including the farmers of Hacienda Luisita.â
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.
âSheâs a very gentle soul â¦ a really quiet and unassuming character,â Murphy said from Sydney. âItâs pretty outstanding they have decided to hit her with a sledgehammer.â
Foxâs detention came a day after Giacomo Filibeck, a Socialist party official from the European Union who had criticised Duterteâs brutal anti-drugs crackdown, was deported.
âPat is a small fry in comparison,â Murphy said. âSheâs not a prominent person in terms of public denunciations of the government.â
Murphy, who most recently travelled to the Philippines in February, said the detention centre where Fox was being held was âa cage jammed full of peopleâ.
âItâs a horrific location,â he said.
Australiaâs foreign affairs department âis aware an Australian woman was arrested in the Philippinesâ, a spokeswoman said.Topics
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