Police arrest Philippine communist

28th August 2007, Comments 0 comments

Police arrest Philippine communist

29 August 2007

THE HAGUE (AP) - Dutch police arrested Philippine Communist rebel leader Jose Maria Sison on Tuesday on suspicion of ordering the murder of two former allies in the Philippines, prosecutors said.

Jose Maria Sison, founder of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People's Army, was arrested in Utrecht, the central Dutch city where he has lived in exile for 20 years, they said. He was due to appear in a Hague court on Friday.

"The Communist leader is suspected of ordering from the Netherlands the murders of his former allies Romulo Kintanar and Arturo Tabara in the Philippines," said a statement from the Public Prosecutor's Office.

Spokesman Wim de Bruin said Sison, 68, will be put on trial in the Netherlands, not the Philippines.

"There is no extradition request," De Bruin said. "These are crimes that were committed in the Netherlands. Ordering murders is a crime according to Dutch law."

Kintanar was gunned down in a Japanese restaurant in the Philippines on 23 January 2003. Tabara and his son-in-law Stephen Ong were shot dead in a parking lot as they got out of their car on 26 September 2004, the statement said. The Philippines Communist Party's armed wing claimed responsibility for the slayings.

In Utrecht, teams of police raided the Sison's office, seizing computers, CDs, documents and books, said Aldo Gonzalez, who said he was questioned during the six-hour police operation at the office. Prosecutors said at least seven other addresses in Utrecht and the nearby town of Abcoude were searched as part of the investigation.

Sison now calls himself a political consultant for the Dutch-based National Democratic Front of the Philippines, which has been involved in off-and-on peace negotiations for many years with Manila.

Gonzalez, who said he was a staff member of the Front's negotiating team, dismissed the well-known allegations against Sison for the murders. "They are all fabricated charges," he said.

The European Union added Sison to its terror list in October 2002. He was placed on the list both as an individual and as a member of the New People's Army.

Philippine military spokesman Lt. Col. Bartolome Bacarro called Sison's arrest "a triumph of justice."

"Ironic as it is, he is assured of his day in court - a right denied to the thousands of innocent victims of Communist kangaroo courts," Bacarro added.

A prominent left-wing group in the Philippines, The New Patriotic Alliance or Bayan, condemned the arrest of Sison and raids on his group's offices as attacks on civil liberties.

"This bodes ill for the peace process," the group said. "The arrest was most probably undertaken with the knowledge and prodding of the (Gloria Macapagal) Arroyo government which is out to sabotage all hopes for peace talks."

[Copyright AP 2007]

Subject: Dutch news

0 Comments To This Article