Tags: Philippines | US | crime | diplomacy | homicide

US Won't Hand Over Marine in Transgender Murder: Philippines

Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 06:53 AM

The United States has rebuffed a Philippine government request to hand over custody of a U.S. Marine charged with murdering a Filipino transgender woman, Manila said Wednesday.

A Philippine court on Tuesday ordered the arrest of Private First Class Joseph Pemberton to stand trial for the October 11 murder that has inflamed anti-American feelings and tested close military ties.

The marine is under U.S. military custody at a Philippine military base in Manila under a compromise arrangement, but the foreign department (ministry) sought full custody after the court issued its arrest warrant.

"We are disappointed that the U.S. has chosen to invoke their rights under the VFA to maintain custody of the accused," foreign department spokesman Charles Jose said, referring to a 1998 Visiting Forces Agreement between the two military allies.

He said the U.S. embassy also reiterated a previous commitment to ensure Pemberton "complies with the requirement of any investigation or judicial proceedings in accordance with Philippine law."

Jennifer Laude, 26, also known as Jeffrey, was found dead at a cheap hotel in the northern port city of Olongapo before dawn on October 12.

Pemberton, 19 at the time, had just finished taking part in U.S.-Philippine military exercises near Olongapo and checked into the hotel with Laude. He was the last person seen with her, police said.

US embassy spokesman Kurt Hoyer told AFP the mission plans to issue a statement on the case later.

On Tuesday an embassy statement asserted that under the Visiting Forces Agreement, "the U.S. has a right to retain custody of a suspect from the commission of the alleged offense until the completion of all judicial proceedings."

"We expect the U.S. to honor its obligations...and ensure that Pfc. Pemberton is made available for all required appearances before the appropriate Philippine authorities as related to the investigation and trial" of the murder, Jose said in a statement Wednesday.

"Pfc. Pemberton will remain detained in sovereign Philippine territory, and our armed forces will actively participate in ensuring that he remains in the agreed detention facility."

Laude's death sparked street protests in the Philippines, a former U.S. colony that gained independence in 1946 but has retained a close alliance.

The United States closed down two major military bases in 1992, but the allies in 1998 signed a Visiting Forces Agreement that allowed U.S. troops to take part in war games on Philippine soil.

Military exercises involving thousands of U.S. soldiers have since taken place each year.

 

© AFP 2017

   
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The United States has rebuffed a Philippine government request to hand over custody of a U.S. Marine charged with murdering a Filipino transgender woman, Manila said Wednesday.
Philippines, US, crime, diplomacy, homicide
409
2014-53-17
Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 06:53 AM
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