Saturday, September 1, 2007

Sison, Dati and a pretty hectic day

Today was the kind of day where it's so busy things start falling through the cracks.

First there was another protest in front of the courthouse where Philippine communist leader/academic Jose Maria Sison is being held.

(Si-son Vrij! means Free Sison! The man with the megaphone is Luis Jalandoni, and the woman in white is Sison's wife Julie. She has bruises on her wrists where she says the Dutch police grabbed her during the raids; she's not being allowed to see her husband).

Then the French Justice Minister Rachida Dati popped over to check out a Dutch asylum for the criminally insane _ because maybe they want to adopt the Dutch system for recidivist sex criminals. This is a big story in France that no one else cares much about. She spoke French likety-splitly at this press conference.

(sorry for the red eyes, Ms. Dati. I'm still not much of a photographer).

Then there was a ruling in the Sison case, that he can be held for another two weeks.

I'm very, very curious to see the evidence against Sison, and now I have to wonder why the judge is keeping him in solitary confinement. The public prosecutors aren't saying anything about their evidence. That's normal, but the track record of the government isn't great in proving criminal organizations, much less "chain of command" cases.

But basically, we will know nothing for the next two weeks at least.

The news coming from the lawyer is very one sided: he says there was "no evidence" against Sison, but it says something that the judges thought it was enough to hold him anyway.

Having met the man, I will be very surprised if he said anything out loud that could get him into trouble. Various members of the NDF here told stories of how the Dutch police burst into their houses, breaking down the doors. One guy said his kids were like "sheesh, all they had to do was knock."

(I thought it would be cute to see the demonstration from the eyes of the people holding the banners).

Meanwhile, Ms. Dati came through to check out the Dutch system of holding criminals who commit crimes like rape or pedophilia in mental hospitals until they are considered cured _ even if the cure lasts longer then their prison sentence.

It's ironic that the French would consider adopting this system, since it's been one of the number one most criticized policies in the Netherlands in the past five years: prisoners keep escaping supervision while on furlough and committing crimes (rape, murder, you name it).

But that's politics.

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