American senator calls for release of De Lima, other female political prisoners

US Senator Bob Menendez and detained Senator Leila De Lima / compiled photo from US Senate and Philstar

Manila, Philippines - US Senator Bob Menendez has called on detained Senator Leila de Lima’s release, along with other female political prisoners.

In celebration of International Women’s Day on Friday, the American lawmaker called to “redouble efforts” to free De Lima.

Menendez acknowledge De Lima as among those women activists around the globe who are wronged and urged the governments "who are unjustly detaining, harassing, and torturing women for exercising their fundamental rights to immediately release these politically-motivated detentions."

“In the Philippines, Senator Leila de Lima, a brave champion of human rights, launched an 
investigation into extrajudicial executions that began shortly after President [Rodrigo] Duterte took office in 2016,” said Menendez

De Lima has been detained over drug charges filed against her by the Department of Justice (DOJ) before a court in Muntinlupa.

Menendez also said that De Lima's detention was President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to silence her. 

“As one of the only leaders bold enough to oppose President Duterte’s ‘war on drugs’, she has faced prolonged arbitrary detention, according to Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International," the American senator said. 

"President Duterte has sought to silence her courageous voice as she spoke out against widespread human rights violations, including thousands of extrajudicial executions of mostly poor and marginalized people," he said. 

Menendez, a ranking member of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee is the latest US lawmaker who has expressed concern over De Lima’s plight. 

Source: ABS CBN

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