Philippine authorities arrest 71-year-old Australian nun

australian nun

On Monday, Philippine authorities arrested and detained a 71-year-old Australian nun because she had allegedly violated the conditions of her visa by engaging in illegal political activities.

There is a possibility that she will be deported as an “undesirable alien”.

Sister Patricia Fox, Philippine superior of the Sisters of Our Lady of Sion, was arrested at her convent in Quezon City on April 16.

Authorities have accused Fox, who has worked in rural communities for 27 years, of being an “undesirable alien”  because she took part in protest rallies and visited political prisoners.

Although the prosecutor in charge “found no probable cause” for her arrest and ordered the Australian nun to be released for further investigation, immigration officials insisted on her detention.

They said Fox failed to surrender her passport to the bureau. She said her documents were with a travel agency.

The bureau subsequently released her after her lawyers submitted her passport and other immigration documents showing she had a valid missionary visa.

Fox’s counsel, Jobert Pahilga, said she would still have to sit through a preliminary investigation because a formal complaint has been filed by the authorities.

“Our next step is how to get the case dismissed because she’s not an undesirable alien.

“Her work is very much desired by farmers and indigenous peoples,” said the lawyer.

Evidence presented by authorities include pictures of her taken during a jail visit in the southern Philippines with a banner that reads “Stop Killing Farmers.”

She also joined a recent fact-finding and solidarity mission that investigated alleged human rights abuses committed against farmers and tribal people in the southern Philippines.

Fox told that part of her missionary work is “to immerse with the poorest of the poor in any event.”

“Our mission includes listening to the narratives of people especially poor farmers and indigenous people,” she said. “We go to places where we find them.”


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News category: Asia Pacific.

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