FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 24, 2012
Jollene Levid, AF3IRM National Chairperson, email@example.com, 323-356-4748
Ivy Quicho, Mariposa Center Executive Director, firstname.lastname@example.org, 951-333-4306
Support for Grace Surges as Extradition Orders Disrupt Asylum Hearing
LOS ANGELES— In a surprising move, US government prosecutors objecting to Grace Grande’s political asylum petition moved to “administratively” close the case, allegedly because of a request for her extradition by the Philippine government. Grande had asked for political asylum for herself and her two sons, as protection against being coerced into continued concubinage by a Philippine politician/warlord.
The prosecutors’ move caught not only Ms. Grande’s lawyer by surprise but the court as well, as no notification nor any shred of paper had been filed regarding this so-called request for extradition.
In reply to a query, the Los Angeles Philippine Consulate said that it had no information at all on any extradition request on the Grande case.
Judge Rose Peters granted a continuance of the case as requested by Ms. Grande’s lawyer to December.
Members of the “Stand With Grace” campaign, including organizers from the Association for Filipinas, Feminists Fighting Imperialism, Re-feudalization, and Marginalization (AF3IRM) and the Mariposa Center for Change, along with community supporters and Grande’s family and friends, filled the courtroom. A large contingent marched and chanted in the streets of Downtown Los Angeles. All were dismayed about the announcement, but were quick to also assert their desire to continue to stand and fight with Grace.
After the hearing was over, supporters gathered outside the building and listened to statements and updates from AF3IRM National Chair, Jollene Levid, and writer and former political prisoner Ninotchka Rosca. Rosca was present at the hearing to serve as an expert witness.
Levid asserted that Grande’s case is no longer just about gaining political asylum, but has now been elevated to an “issue of human rights.” Rosca said that if the extradition request were true, this was “naked and bare-faced persecution. Whoever heard of anyone being extradited for an alleged theft amounting to $40,000? For some in the US, that’s only a credit card debt.”
Grande is currently in danger of being taken into custody and/or “disappeared” back to the Philippines before her asylum case is resumed. If she is sent back to the Philippines, she faces legal and extra-legal persecution, possible violence and even death, from an increasingly obvious vicious warlord.
AF3IRM and Mariposa Center are privy to tape recordings that incontrovertibly prove the theft accusation to have been made up, to coerce Ms. Grande back into concubinage. The two organizations are amazed at the ease with which a politician/warlord 10,000 miles away manipulates US government agencies, even the attorney general’s office. The irony of it, said members of the two organizations, is that the legal fee alone for fighting this extradition is already double the amount of the supposed theft.
AF3IRM and Mariposa Center call on all people to Stand with Grace and continue the fight. Overturning the extradition order and achieving political asylum is not just a personal win for Grande, but a win for abused women, a win for women trapped in concubinage, and a win for any women victimized through abuses of power. The case alone supports the need to not only strengthen current policies, but the need to create new ones, that protect all women, regardless of their immigration status. If this kind of persecution can be inflicted upon one woman with such extreme methods, it could be done to all women.
Stand with Grace- one man’s vendetta should not dictate the life of a woman only looking to free her and her children from fear.
Stand with Grace – because stalking and all forms of violence against women are unacceptable.
Stand with Grace – because women are not private property.
Join AF3IRM and Mariposa Center for Change and Stand with Grace – a victory for Grande is a victory for all women. The war against Grande is far from over, but her supporters remain resolute in working towards her freedom. As the crowd chanted outside the court building today, “they say fall back, we say fight back!”