GENEVA (16 June 2023) – UN experts* today expressed “grave disappointment” after a Philippine court denied bail to former senator Leila de Lima, prolonging her six-year detention even after key witnesses withdrew evidence against her.

“We have long called for the immediate release of Leila de Lima,” the experts said. “The decision to deny bail comes after more than six years of arbitrary detention. It is high time for the administration of President Marcos Jr. to close this case once and for all, provide compensation and other reparations, and investigate the circumstances that allowed this to happen in the first place.”

Leila de Lima, also a former chairperson of the National Commission on Human Rights, from 2008 to 2010 and Secretary of Justice, from 2010 to 2015, has been in pre-trial detention since 2017. In August 2018, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention found that her detention was arbitrary and that her deprivation of liberty was a result of her personal beliefs and public statements regarding extrajudicial killings in the Philippines during the administration of then-President Rodrigo Duterte. In September 2020 she filed a bill to the Senate to stop extra-judicial killings, ensure an independent investigation of summary killings and provide compensation for victims.

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