Hadjirul visited Misuari, who is presently under “house arrest” in Quezon City, on August 22 and 23. He said Misuari is in good condition and in high spirits. Misuari has been detained since early January 2002 on charges of rebellion allegedly for leading his men to rebel in Sulu and Zamboanga in November 2001. He spent nearly two months under detention in Sabah, Malaysia for alleged illegal entry.
The Organization of Islamic Conference which visited the country last May to conduct a fact finding mission on the status of the 1996 GRP-MNLF Peace Agreement had urged the Philippine government to release Misuari.
“Several Moro groups have been calling the government to release our chairman” Hadjirul said.
Hadjirul said he met Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita and Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Jesus Dureza during his visit. The two secretaries, he said, had a closed door meeting with Misuari.
“I hope Mr. Secretary (Dureza) that the government will respond positively to the invitation of the Saudi King,” Hadjirul quoted Misuari as telling Dureza. Hadjirul said the red carpet welcome given Pres. Arroyo during her visit in Saudi last May is rarely given by the King to a female visitor.
Pres. Arroyo’s request for the King’s pardon to some 700 Filipinos with minor offense committed in the kingdom including those who were subject to death penalty was granted by the king.
“Would that not be enough for her (Arroyo) to reciprocate it with Misuari’s release?” Hadjirul asked. “He is only one compared to them.”
Hadjirul said a representative from the International Commission on Human Rights visited Misuari recently.
“Chairman Nur is still being respected by Muslim leaders around the world. He remains the recognized representative of the Bangsamoro People to the Organization of the Islamic Conference,” he added. “His prolonged incarceration manifests the continued oppression of the Bangsamoro people,” he said. (Gandhi C. Kinjiyo/MindaNews)