It is the worst of times for two Asian women lawyers who are currently languishing in jail for going against the powers-that-be. One is a former senator who valiantly criticized the drug war of a populist president. The other is a civil society activist who brought attention to a myriad of human rights violations committed by an autocratic regime. One tried to change the system from within; the other one opted to stay outside. Both ended up behind bars for fighting for what is right.
They are Leila de Lima of the Philippines and Theary Seng of Cambodia. On February 24 of this year, de Lima will mark her sixth year of detention. Seng, on the other hand, was sentenced to six-year imprisonment in June last year. The charges against both of them are clearly politically motivated.
De Lima, who is a former justice secretary and chair of the Commission on Human Rights, was charged with three counts of conspiracy to engage in the drug trade, but was acquitted of one count in February 2021, while the other two remain on trial. In the course of the trial, several judges assigned to the cases recused themselves or opted for early retirement. In recent months, a number of key prosecution witnesses also recanted their statements against the former senator, stating that they were pressured by administration officials to execute those statements.
In full: https://thediplomat.com/2023/02/a-tale-of-two-women/