EU court to decide Joma’s case vs. terror blacklist


EU court to decide Joma’s case vs. terror blacklist

Utrecht, The Netherlands- The European Court of First Instance (ECFI) will issue in Luxembourg on 30 September its judgment on Case T-341/07 of Prof. Jose Maria Sison versus the Council of the European Union (EU), in which he complains against the maintenance of his name in the EU terrorist blacklist and
demands the removal of his name from said list.

In a statement sent by the International Committee DEFEND Filipino progressives in Europe, it says, “the crucial point against the Council of the European Union is that it has unjustly maintained Prof. Sison in the so-called terrorist blacklist without any concrete evidence against him for any specific act of terrorism.”

According to DEFEND, previously, the European court issued a court judgment on 11 July 2007 in favor of Prof. Sison, ordering the Council of the EU to annul its decision to blacklist Prof. Sison and declaring the Council as having infringed Prof. Sison’s rights of defense, the obligation to state reasons and the right to effective judicial protection.

But before the issuance of the court judgment, the Council of the EU put again the name of Prof. Sison in its blacklist on 28 June 2007, thus prompting him to file a new complaint before the European Court demand his removal from the so-called terrorist blacklist on the ground that the Council has infringed the following: 1) the obligation to state reasons and make a truthful assessment, 2) Article 2 (3) of Regulation No. 2580/2001 and Article 1 (4) of Common Position 2001/931, 3) the
principle of proportionality and 4) the general principles of Community law and fundamental rights.

The International DEFEND Committee is confident that Prof. Sison will win his case again because of the previous judgment of the ECFI in favor of Prof. Sison in 2007 and the dropping of the false charges of murder against him in The Netherlands last 31 March 2009. The Dutch prosecution service failed to establish any criminal offense of Prof. Sison.

Nicholas James Forwood is the presiding judge of the court in Case T-341/07 of Prof. Jose Maria Sison versus the Council of the EU. According to E. Coulon, the registrar of the court, the ECFI judgment shall be read at 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, 30 September 2009 in one of the ECFI courtrooms at Kirchberg, Luxembourg, Rue du Fort Niedergrunewald L-2925.

Prof. Sison is represented by Jan Fermon as lead lawyer, the German lawyers Eberhard Schultz and Wolfgang Kaleck, the Filipino lawyer Romeo T. Capulong, the French lawyer Antoine Comte and Dutch lawyer Dundar Gurses. The International DEFEND Committee provides moral and material support to Prof. Jose Maria Sison.

Journalists are advised to seek entry to the courtroom at the reception desk of the ECFI 15 minutes before the session. They can interview briefly Prof. Jose Maria Sison and his lead counsel, Jan Fermon, outside of the courtroom immediately after the issuance of the decision.

According to Ms Ruth de Leon, International Committee DEFEND pointperson in Europe, in the final oral hearing of the Sison complaint against the EU terrorist blacklist last 30 April 2009, the presiding judge took special note of the fact that Prof. Sison had never been prosecuted in The Netherlands for any specific act of terrorism. The lawyer of the Dutch government as intervener in the case also admitted that the previous dropping of the murder charges against him by the Dutch prosecution was a new element to be taken into account.

“The false charges of inciting the killing of Philippine military agents was terminated by the Dutch prosecution service last 31 March 2009 due to lack of evidence, as had been ruled previously in judgments of Dutch judicial authorities (district court of The Hague, appellate court and the examining judge),” she said.

De leon further stressed the aforesaid termination of prosecution is relevant to the case before the European court. It shows the lack of concrete evidence for the allegation that Prof. Sison is Armando Liwanag or chairman of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) as well as for the allegation that he is culpable for any violent act of the New People’s Army, despite the close collaboration of Dutch and Philippine political authorities for several years in trying to criminalize him.

“The Council has continuously failed to cite any decision of any
competent national judicial authority to prove Prof. Sison’s involvement in any specific act of terrorism. In desperation, the Council has misrepresented as decisions on Prof. Sison’s culpability for terrorism the Dutch court decisions on his application for political asylum in the 1990s and the recent Dutch court decisions on the false charges of inciting murder,” she said.

De leon added: “In fact, the Dutch Council of State in 1992 and 1995 and the Dutch Law Uniformity Chamber in 1997 ruled that Prof. Sison is a political refugee under Article 1 A of the Refugee Convention because he has no criminal liability as to disqualify him from being recognized as such.”

She said the District Court of The Hague and the Appellate Court in 2007 ruled that there is no sufficient evidence against him for the incitation of murder. The passing statement that there are indications or clues that he plays a prominent role in the CPP does not mean culpability for any criminal act of terrorism.

Jan Fermon, lead counsel of Prof. Sison, sharply criticized the of the EU and the Dutch government for misrepresenting judgments of the District Court of the Hague on 13 September 2007 and the Dutch Appeal Court on 3 October 2007 on false murder charges against Prof. Sison as judgments condemning him for terrorism. In fact the court decisions released Prof. Sison from detention on the ground of insufficent evidence for the charges of inciting murder.

The so-called terrorist blacklisting of the CPP and NPA by the US, EU and other foreign governments is completely anomalous because under Philippine law the CPP is already legal by virtue of the repeal of the Anti-Subversion Law in 1992 and because under Philippine law the acts of revolutionary armed struggle by the NPA against military targets are deemed as acts of rebellion and under international laws of war as acts of belligerency in a civil war.

On the basis of the Marty report and recommendations, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has condemned EU blacklisting procedures as violative of human rights. Legal experts and human rights organizations have cited the case of Prof. Sison to express outrage over the violation of his fundamental rights.

Since being blacklisted as terrorist by the US, Dutch and other
governments in August 2002, Prof. Sison has been actually subjected to punitive measures for more than seven years under the pretext of temporary administrative restrictive measures. Civil death is imposed him as he is prohibited from having legal residence, earning an income, receiving a living allowance, holding a house, having sufficient insurance coverage, receiving old age pension and travelling freely.

By being merely blacklisted as a “terrorist”, Prof. Sison has
suffered a fate worse than that of a criminal convicted for murder or even the prime suspects in 9-11 who are assured of their essential needs by UN Security Council resolution 1452. Until now, the Dutch Finance Minister prohibits Prof. Sison from having financial transaction of any kind and from receiving any social payment for his essential human needs. Friends
are outraged by the inhumanity of the EU and the Dutch government and lend Prof. Sison the resources for his subsistence and legal expenses.###

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