Lawyers, political leaders, marginalized gather for immediate freedom of Atty. Saladero; Persecution of people’s lawyer is persecution of people

A broad spectrum of leaders and representatives of various sectors gathered today in the launching of the Free Atty. Saladero coalition to combine efforts for the immediate freedom of people’s lawyer Atty. Remigio Saladero Jr.

Saladero was illegally arrested in his residence last October 23 and has been in jail since then (see fact sheet). He is currently chief legal counsel of Kilusang Mayo Uno, board chair of the Pro Labor Legal Assistance Center, and handles several hundred of cases of workers, urban poor, peasant organizations, and other marginalized sectors.

Saladero was included among the 72 leaders of progressive legal organizations mostly from Southern Tagalog charged with multiple murder. He was earlier charged, along with 26 others from Southern Tagalog also, with arson and inciting to rebellion.

“The Arroyo regime has the clearest motive for the arrest and detention of Atty. Saladero and other people’s defenders. Saladero represents the marginalized in their rude battle for justice.” said Elmer Labog, KMU Chairperson.

“Arroyo’s terrorism poses a greater threat to our security, for if they can arrest and detain a lawyer in the most illegal way, how much more can they do to the ordinary people?”

Saladero has never set foot on the place of the crime he was accused to commit murder, and it was “plainly impossible” for him to engage in guerilla activities, as what he is accused of, because of his hectic daily schedule with the many cases he handles.

“We are on guard against the regime’s new tactic of slapping his enemies with grave criminal charges, instead of political charges, so it will be non-bailable and harder to defend. They do so because we have succeeded in always proving their political charges false in court, and plainly malicious for the public,” Labog added.

“We will never cower in our fight for the rights and welfare of the workers and other marginalized, Arroyo will fail in its newest wave of attempt to silence us.”

KMU called on all concerned citizens to be vigilant and actively partake against the regime’s growing fascism and repression.

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