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Australian nun arrested in Philippines over political activities

Manila, Apr 17 (IANS): A 71-year old Australian nun was arrested in the Philippines over her alleged involvement in political activities, the country's Bureau of Immigration said on Tuesday.

According to a bureau statement, Sister Patricia Fox, a nun belonging to Sisters of Our Lady of Sion en Philippines, was arrested on Monday for "violating the conditions of her stay by attending protest rallies and engaging in political activities", reports Efe news.

The nun, who has been working in the Philippines for the past 27 years, was detained at the Immigration Bureau, waiting for her lawyer to submit her passport.

Once the document is submitted, the special Inquest Prosecutor "will submit her findings and recommendations whether to file necessary charges or release Fox for further investigation" the statement said.

Fox has been working with some of the most underprivileged communities in several regions in the country, including in the southern island of Mindanao, according to the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines, who condemned her arrest.

Manila's Auxiliary Bishop Broderick Pabillo, who visited the nun at the Immigration Bureau, called the nun's arrest a sign that the government was beginning to crack down on critics.

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

The nun's arrest comes a day after the Deputy Secretary-General of the Party of European Socialists, Giacomo Filibeck, was barred from entering the country over his participation in a human rights forum.

Filibeck was part of an international 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.

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