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Charges vs GMA politically motivated – Clooney

Philippine STAR columnist Carmen Pedrosa hosted a dinner for Amal Clooney at her home in Alabang when the international lawyer visited the country in late 2013.

MANILA, Philippines - Actor George Clooney’s lawyer wife believes the government is persecuting former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

In a complaint filed before the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC), international lawyer Amal Clooney and her associate Katherine O’Byrne sought compensation for the “harm” the 67-year-old Arroyo has suffered for her continued detention in the presidential suite of the Veterans Memorial Medical Center in Quezon City on charges of plunder.

“The criminal prosecutions against Mrs. Arroyo are politically motivated and persecutory in nature,” they said.

“The presumption of innocence was violated when public officials made inappropriate comments suggesting Mrs. Arroyo guilty while she was on trial.”

Clooney and O’Byrne mentioned efforts of President Aquino to pressure the judiciary into convicting Arroyo.

“Mrs. Arroyo has become the victim of President Aquino’s politically motivated campaign to have her tried and detained so that she can effectively be neutralized as a political opponent,” they said.

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Filed last month, the complaint was prepared with Arroyo’s Filipino lawyers   Modesto Ticman Jr. and Lorenzo Gadon.

Clooney and O’Byrne said the   government has violated Sections 9, 14, 19 and 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in its treatment of Arroyo.

They asked the UNHRC to order the release of Arroyo from detention as an interim relief pursuant to Rule 92 of its Rule of Procedures to allow her to seek medical treatment abroad.

Clooney said Arroyo’s right against arbitrary detention has been violated when the Sandiganbayan repeatedly rejected her petition for bail.

“There is no reasoning by the courts showing why Mrs. Arroyo, an ailing former president of the nation with no previous convictions, could not have had no reporting requirements, sureties or limits on certain activities imposed on her instead of detention,” she said.

“Instead the court’s decisions have focused entirely on the question of evidence-strength. Mrs. Arroyo’s requests for less restrictive conditions of detention, such as house arrest, have simply been ignored or else automatically denied.”

The UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention provides that detention should be the last option when there is less invasive or restrictive means such as reporting requirements or bonds, Clooney said.

At Malacañang, Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. sees no reason to respond to Clooney’s complaint as they have yet to receive a formal notice on her demand for the government to make a public apology to Arroyo for allegedly violating her rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. – With Delon Porcalla

               

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