‘Tiny cell’: Group urges CHR to probe situation of farmers, advocates detained in Concepcion, Tarlac

A progressive group on Sunday, June 12, asked the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to conduct an on-site investigation to check the condition of 50 farmers and advocates who are allegedly detained in a “tiny 3x3 cell” in the Concepcion Police Station in Tarlac.

The National Network of Agrarian Reform Advocates-Youth (NNARA) said the said individuals have been locked up in the “tiny cell” since June 11.

“It has been 15 hours since the police locked up fifty farmers and advocates in a tiny cell and we have no information on their health condition, as Concepcion Police chief Lt. Col. Reynold Macabitas rejects paralegals' request to check their situation,” Melo Cabello, NNARA spokesperson, said in a statement.

(Photo courtesy of NNARA-Youth)

The group noted that on June 11, two youth advocates experienced “difficulty in breathing and collapsed due to poor air ventilation in the cramped up cell.”

The two were rushed to the hospital, it added.

Cabello said they are “very concerned” with the health condition of the detained farmers and advocates, saying that congestion in the cramped-up cell could lead to serious health problems.

In addition, he warned of a possible outbreak of Covid-19 in the said cell.

No one was tested before the police forcibly locked them up in jail, the spokesperson noted.

“he CHR should probe into possible human rights violations as the police are clearly putting the lives of innocent people in danger.”

The group has insisted that the arrest of the said individuals was illegal and the charges filed are unfounded and have no legal basis.

Meanwhile, the Amihan National Federation of Peasant Women (Amihan) group has called for the release of the detained farmers and advocates.

Amihan chairperson Zenaida Soriano decried the “mass arrest and harassment of farmers and advocates in Hacienda Tinang while conducting a peaceful land preparation shows the kind of freedom the country has and to whose benefit it serves.”

On Thursday, June 9, cops reportedly arrested over 90 individuals who were holding a cooperative planting activity at Hacienda Tinang.