Australian nun freed after being held for 'political activities'

Australian nun freed after being held for 'political activities'

After detaining 71-year-old Australian nun Sister Patricia Fox overnight, the Bureau of Immigration (BI) ordered her release Tuesday, April 17.

'We condemn her unjust detention and the deportation proceedings initiated against her, ' Renato Reyes secretary-general of the leftist Bayan (Nation) movement, said. She has served as a missionary in the Philippines for 27 years, working especially with indigenous people and impoverished farmers.

The BI said Fox submitted her passport and other immigration documents showing that she was issued her missionary visa on October.

Fox, superior of the Our Lady of Sion congregation in the Philippines, was arrested by immigration agents on Monday, April 16, for violating the conditions of her stay "by attending protest rallies and engaging in political activities".

However, Immigration Bureau spokesperson, Antonette Mangrobang, said that the law of the land does not allow any foreigner to participate in political activities.

Her detention came a day after Giacomo Filibeck, a Socialist Party official from the European Union who had criticised President Rodrigo Duterte's brutal anti-drugs crackdown, was deported.

Filibeck was part of an global mission in 2017 that had harshly criticised the killings under President Rodrigo Duterte's controversial anti-drug campaign, and which led to the inclusion of his name on a government blacklist.

In a statement, the BI said Commissioner Jaime Morente approved the recommendation of the BI Legal Division to release Fox for further investigation.

'She is no criminal or undesirable alien.

Fox's missionary visa is valid until September, the bureau said.

The BI said Fox will undergo a preliminary investigation to determine if deportation charges should be filed against her with the BI Board of Commissioners.

The 71-year-old had been involved with an global human rights mission on the southern island of Mindanao.

Sister Patricia Fox was taken from her home and brought to the immigration bureau in Manila for questioning and could be deported.

Leftist lawmakers have vowed to hold a congressional inquiry into the deportation of foreign human rights advocates.

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