Artists welcome DOJ order to dismiss charges vs Ericson Acosta

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THE Concerned Artists of the Philippines welcomed the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) new resolution to withdraw charges filed against Ericson Acosta, a poet, activist and former editor of the Philippine Collegian of the University of the Philippines.

Acosta was arrested on February 13, 2011 in San Jorge, Samar by the military. He was subsequently interrogated, tortured, jailed, and falsely charged of illegally possessing explosives. Acosta spent 23 months in the Calbayog sub-provincial jail and was recently allowed to be confined at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute in Quezon City.

Earlier today, the DOJ issued a resolution granting Acosta’s petition for review, reversing probable cause and dismissing the military’s trumped-up chages against him.

“We welcome the DOJ’s move to free the artist. This victory is the result of a long and persistent struggle by Acosta’s family, friends, fellow activists, artists and human rights advocates against such political persecution and suppression. It affirms that the military has erred in bringing on false charges and violated basic human rights,” said visual artist Renan Ortiz, spokesperson for CAP.

Despite the good news, Ortiz added, many other political prisoners who have met the same fate as Acosta continue to languish in jail. Human rights groups have listed over 300 political detainees suffering under the Aquino administration.

“We must also note that many other cultural workers and artist-activists remain imprisoned for years already under the current administration. These include Alan Jazmines, an activist, poet, and painter; UP film student Maricon Montajes; union organizer and writer Randy Vegas—who like Acosta are all detained based on trumped up charges, harassed and persecuted because of their activism,” Ortiz added.

In support of the call to free the artist and free all political prisoners, CAP will be organizing a global event for people’s rights entitled Artists Break the Chains: Global Action to Defend People’s Culture on February 20, 2013 at the Freedom Bar in Anonas, Quezon City.

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