Friday, September 03, 2010

AHRC reports death of Filipino man after arrest in Mindanao

DAVAO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Sept. 3, 2010) - The Asian Human Rights Commission has reported the mysterious death of a Filipino man who was arrested by Philippine authorities in Mindanao.

In a report Friday, it said the Task Force Detainees of the Philippines in Mindanao claimed Sumar Abdulwahab, who belonged to the Maguindanaon, an ethnic tribe, was found dead days after he was said to have escaped from authorities.

It said that on June 3 this year, officers from the National Bureau of Investigation, a special investigating body, arrested him in Sitio Manil in the village of Daliao in Sarangani’s Maasim town on murder charges.

The NBI is an agency attached to, and under, the supervision of the Department of Justice.

The NBI claimed they had arrest orders for Abdulwahab on charges of murder, which included one count of Murder, Multiple Frustrated Murder and Multiple attempted Murder.

The victim was seen sitting at a post of the Barangay Defense Force when the NBI officers, who were onboard four separate vehicles, arrived. They immediately cuffed his hands behind his back after showing him the arrest orders. The person manning the post was then told to take the victim's motorcycle to the office of the village chief.

On June 4, Abdulwahab's sister, Johaniya, and a council member of their village, had gone to the office of the NBI in the village of Lagao in General Santos City. The NBI, however, told them that they could only see Abdulwahab the next day. They were also told to bring the personal effects of the victim for him to use when they returned.

When Johaniya and others returned the next day at around 3 p.m. the NBI personnel refused them entry to their office and told her that Abdulwahab had escaped the night before at around 11 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. by breaking the glass window of the detention facility where he was held. After this visit to the NBI, the victim's family had not heard any news regarding his whereabouts.

But on June 8, five days after he had gone missing, the victim's family heard over the radio of the recovery of a dead body by scavengers in Malalag town in Davao del Sur province, a place which is a considerable distance from their town.

The decomposing body had been placed inside an oil drum filled with construction cement; his hands were tied behind his back and the body showed visible signs of torture. The corpse was found near a cliff after a foul smell had drawn the attention of the scavengers, who then informed the police.

After hearing the report over the radio, the victim's family had immediately gone to the place where the corpse was found. It is common in the Philippines for families of missing persons to check every reported recovery of bodies to see if it was their loved ones. In this case, the family's fears proved true.

When the family arrived at the local funeral parlor where the corpse was taken, they were only able to confirm that the corpse was that of Sumar Abdulwahab by his clothes and a picture of his child in a pocket.

In the post mortem report, it found that the victim suffered a 5.2 centimeter wound behind his ear, a skull fracture and contusion in his right check. Also, the victim's teeth had been extracted, the AHRC report said.

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