A Moro human rights activist, invited for a speaking tour by several church-based institutions including the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Sisters of Mercy and the General Board of Global Ministries, has been barred entry into the United States. Jerome Succor Aba is being held at the San Francisco International Airport for almost 24 hours, since April 18, by US Customs and Border Protection, Cristina Palabay, secretary general of human rights group Karapatan, said. US authorities have not released any basis for denying Aba entry, she said.
Aba, 25, is national chairperson of Suara Bangsamoro and co-chair of the Sandugo Movement for Moro and Indigenous Peoples for Self Determination. Karapatan said Aba, when he insisted on speaking with legal counsel, was told that "a lawyer will not do him any good." The CBP has refused to give Aba's lawyers from the US National Lawyers Guild access to him, the group said. "We remind the officials from the so-called 'Land of the Free' that civil liberties should be accorded to all – regardless of whether someone is a citizen of that country or not. The right to counsel is a universally recognized right," Palabay said.
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