ISLAMIC HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION
URGENT ALERT: 16th June 2000
PHILIPPINES: Protest against summary executions of Esmael Omar and Akmad Samid
1. Case Details
2. Suggested Action
3. Background to atrocities in Phillipines
1. CASE DETAILS
June 8, 2000, at about 5:30 pm, two male Muslims were accosted in the
street by 10 policemen of the Manila Western Police District in one of the the capital’s busiest districts, Quiapo. The two Muslims, Esmael Omar, age 36, and Akmad Samid, age 38, were summarily accused by the
policemen of being “MILF terrorists” intending “to bomb public places in Manila.”
Witnesses say that the two surprised Muslims vehemently denied the accusation and told the policemen that they were in Manila to apply for work abroad. The policemen, however, insisted that the Muslims were “terrorists” and so proceeded to summarily execute them in full view of many witnesses. Reports state that the two Muslims kneeled down pleading innocence and begged mercy for their lives but the same policemen shot them in cold-blood.
Esmael Omar was shot 25 times in all parts of the body while Akmad Samid received 2 fatal shots.
After the brutal shooting of the two Muslims, the police brought their bodies not to the nearest hospital in the district but to one which was farther away in another district. The Muslims were pronounced dead on arrival.
The summary execution of the two in the very heart of Manila triggered massive protests among the Muslim residents of the city as well as human rights groups. Even the mayor of Manila, Lito Atienza, after hearing the testimonies of many witnesses, was aghast at the brutal and arbitrary fashion the police executed the two innocents. The policemen, meanwhile, claim that the two Muslims were killed in a shoot-out and that they were terrorists. Subsequent investigations made by the authorities revealed that the two did not even have powder burns on their fingers and that no bullets were found on the alleged electric posts where, according to the police, they had sought cover during the alleged shoot-out. Moreover, hundreds of witnesses said there was no shoot-out and that the two Muslims were shot while kneeling down.
Meanwhile, relatives of the dead Muslims have appealed to the Philippine Commission on Human Rights to investigate the case thoroughly. A sister of one of the murdered Muslims, Esmael Omar, showed the media and investigating bodies documents which proved that the two were overseas workers who were applying for other jobs abroad. As indicated by the documents, they were on their way home from the job recruitment agency office when they were accosted by the policemen and then shot in a cold-blooded manner.
2. SUGGESTED ACTION
Please write to your foreign minister demanding that he make immediate representations to the Philippines government to end atrocities against Muslims, and to bring these police officers to justice.
Also contact the Ambassador to the Philippines in your country demanding that these officers be brought to justice.
For UK campaigners please write to:
Robin Cook MP
King Charles Street
Fax: 020 7270 3539
Cesar B. Bautisa
Diplomatic Mission of the Philippines to the UK and Ireland
9a Palace Green, London W8 4QE
Fax (44-207) 937 2925
Despite the overwhelming evidence that proves the innocence of the two murdered Muslims, the Muslim communities in Manila are sceptical that justice will be served. With the war going on now in Mindanao and the fanatically anti-Muslim policies of the Estrada regime, the Muslims are under no illusion that this tragic incident is not going to be repeated again. The previous arrest of 26 innocent Muslims in Manila charged with the bombings in the capital has not yet been resolved despite evidences
presented in court that the 26 are similarly innocent. Until now, they are kept in solitary prison and both their lawyers and relatives find it very difficult to visit them. All were tortured while in detention.
As it is, the anti-Muslim policies of the Estrada regime are being felt
in varying degrees all over the country. While the regime continues with its bombings and destruction of Muslim communities in Mindanao, life for Muslims outside the region is getting to be tough because of discrimination against Muslims. In Manila, Muslim women, identified as such because of their hijab, are refused rides by taxis. In shopping malls and groceries, Muslims are the last to be attended to. Insults and derogatory catcalls are hurled at Muslims, especially women, when they walk the streets of the capital.
Even in relief operations for the victims of the war in Mindanao, the
regime does not care whether Muslim refugees die of hunger or disease in
the evacuation centres. The regime does not even have enough humanitarian sense to consider the sensitivity of the Muslim evacuees. Tons and tons of packed food intended for the refugees in Mindanao lie rotting in government warehouses in Manila as they could not be delivered to Mindanao because they contain pork. The regime and Filipino civic organizations would prefer to send humanitarian relief goods to a few Christian victims of accidental fire in Manila rather than to the 600,000 or so Muslim refugees who are now victims of the regime’s all-out war policy against the Muslims.
For more information on the situation in the Philippines please contact IHRC or visit our website at: www.ihrc.org. A report on the Philippines will be on-line shortly.
Islamic Human Rights
PO Box 598, Wembley, HA9 7XH, United Kingdom
Telephone: (+44) 208 902 0888 Fax: (+44) 208 902 0889