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European Parliament members hit Leila’s arrest

MANILA, Philippines - Members of the European Parliament denounced the arrest of Sen. Leila de Lima on what they said were politically motivated charges of drug trafficking.

Parliamentarians from the European Union belonging to the Liberal International issued a statement yesterday expressing their deep concern over the arrest of De Lima the other day.

European Parliament member Hans van Baalen, who serves as Liberal International president and the president of Alliance of Liberals and Democrats Europe Party, said that he intends to raise the issue of De Lima’s arrest to the European Union’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini.

“The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats Europe Party is deeply concerned about the arrest of the Liberal Party senator Leila de Lima in particular and the deteriorating human rights situation in general,” Van Baalen said.

“The Philippines, under the leadership of President Duterte, is turning rapidly into an illiberal state, where there is no respect for the law whatsoever. I have sent written questions to HRVP Mogherini in order to see what action the EU can take,” he added.

Markus Löning, the chairman of the Liberal International’s Human Rights Committee, recognized De Lima as a “highly-respected human rights activist fighting against corruption and for the rule of law.”

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“The President of the Philippines must respect and defend the laws of his country and human rights. That is his obligation towards his own people. Liberals across the world will stand up for Leila de Lima’s immediate release,” he said.

The Liberal Party in the Philippines is a full member of Liberal International after joining the body in 1989.

Liberal International has a global human rights committee and through its members and partners is active at the United Nations, Inter-Parliamentary Union and Council of Europe, among others.

It is composed of over 100 liberal and progressive democratic political parties and affiliates.

Liberal International was founded in 1947 to strengthen liberal protection from totalitarianism and communism.

It is the only one of the major political internationals with a dedicated human rights committee that actively participates in the working mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

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