The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) is alarmed that suspended Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor Zaldy Ampatuan is attempting to be removed from the list of suspects who are facing trial for carrying out the November 23, 2009 massacre in the Philippines of 58 people, including 32 journalists and media workers.
The Philippines Court of Appeals will soon decide on a petition for “certiorari” or judicial review, filed by Zaldy Ampatuan. If it is successful he will be freed from jail and avoid facing trial.
“This is a crucial moment in the trial of the Ampatuan Town Massacre suspects,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.
“The IFJ sends its solidarity and support to the families of victims who today are gathering in Manila to show their outrage over the possibility of one of the main suspects being released from detention.”
IFJ affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has today joined with members of the families of media victims’ group Justice Now, the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ) and other press freedom advocates in marching to the Court of Appeals from the Department of Justice in Manila at 1pm local time today.
The Philippines ranks among the worst countries in the world in terms of journalists’ safety, with 142 media workers killed since the end of the Marcos dictatorship in 1986. In 2010, the IFJ delivered an action plan to newly elected President Benigno Aquino III calling upon his government to bring an end to the culture of impunity that plagued the country during the presidency of his predecessor Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125 countries
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