Fear for safety of a Moro human rights defender abducted in Taguig City, Philippines

At around 1:15 PM of November 28, 2008, Mohammad Diya Hamja just came from the Blue Mosque in Maharlika Village after his noontime prayer. He was walking home a few meters away from the mosque gate, when a white L-300 van with license plate number XHC-238 stopped beside him.  Two men alighted from the van, armed with long firearms, one of whom was wearing a ski-mask, pointed their rifles at him and at the other people behind him.  The armed men forced him inside the van.  Witnesses said that apart from the two men, around six more were involved.


The incident happened so swiftly that Mohammad was not able to cry for help and witnesses were not able to help him. The van left immediately toward the direction of lower Bicutan. A bystander was able to get the plate number and reported it to Mohammad Diya's family.


The place where he was abducted was just right across a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) detachment of the Philippine National Police (PNP).


It was learned that before the abduction, for about 3 nights, 3-4 men armed with rifles and wearing ski-masks roamed around in the neighborhood where Mohammad and his family are residing. One of his neighbors was traumatized when one of these men pointed his gun at him while he was responding to a call of nature outside of his house.


Eight years ago, Mohammad Diya was wrongfully accused of being a member of the Abu Sayyaf Group and was charged with 52 fabricated cases in 2000, which were all dismissed.  He was a victim of illegal arrest and torture at the time that the Arroyo administration declared martial law in Basilan.


Seeking justice for the transgressions against him by state security forces, Mohammad Diya had joined Hustisya! (Victims of Arroyo Regime United for Justice). He had just attended the National Organizing Committee meeting of the organization on November 15, 2008.


Mohammad was last seen wearing a green long sleeves polo and white pajama. He is still missing as of this writing.