Washington (November 13, 203) - Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) today released the following statement regarding Philippine Senator Leila de Lima, who was released on bail in the Philippines:
“After nearly seven years of unjust detention for defending human rights, former Philippine Senator Leila de Lima is finally free on bail. We welcome this long overdue decision and call on any remaining bogus charges to be dropped once and for all. Her eloquent words upon release about defending democracy and truth and not succumbing to hate amid repression are an inspiration to all of us. We look forward to hosting her soon for a visit to the United States Senate.”
For nearly seven years, de Lima has been held by the Government of the Philippines on dubious charges, even after multiple government witnesses recanted. Since her arrest, Senators Markey and Durbin have repeatedly called for her release and for the false charges against her to be dropped. Senators Markey and Durbin, along with Senators Marco Rubio (R-Fl.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), and Chris Coons (D-Del.), also introduced a bipartisan resolution that raised human rights concerns in the Philippines, and specifically noted the cases of Senator de Lima and Maria Ressa, a journalist for the news outlet Rappler that has been the target of government harassment.