Separated from her mother, 1-month-old baby of political prisoner dies

One-month-old Carlen dies a few weeks after being separated from her mother, political prisoner Nona Espinosa. (Photo courtesy of Kabataan para sa Karapatan-Negros)
Born last January with several health complications and a cleft-palate, Carlen was immediately separated from her mother after delivery through a caesarean section. Espinosa was taken back to jail in Guihulngan City three days after giving birth in a local hospital and was denied the chance to take care of her baby.

By JOSEPH CUEVAS
Kodao Productions/Reposted by Bulatlat

MANILA — An infant of a political prisoner couple died a few weeks after being separated from her mother, a human rights group reported.

One month-old Carlen, daughter of political prisoners Nona Espinosa and Adidas Acero, died last February 14 due to infection of the lungs and blood, Kabataan para sa Karapatan-Negros Oriental said.

Born last January with several health complications and a cleft-palate, Carlen was immediately separated from her mother after delivery through a caesarean section. Espinosa was taken back to jail in Guihulngan City three days after giving birth in a local hospital and was denied the chance to take care of her baby.

Espinosa and Acero were among the nine peasant activists arrested last September 20 in barangay Buenavista in Guihulgan City. The police alleged the couple were high-ranking New People’s Army officials in Negros Island.

Kabataan para sa Karapatan said that Carlen’s health complications worsened because she was denied breast milk that would have strengthened her immune system.

Group calls for CHR probe

Political prisoners support group KAPATID called on the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to investigate Carlen’s death as infant deaths among political prisoner mothers are becoming serious concerns.

The group added that CHR should likewise look into the conditions of pregnant prisoners to see if the government is complying with the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Non-Custodial Measures for Women Offenders.

Carlen’s death followed that of River, child of political prisoner Reina Mae Nasino, whose internment last October became controversial after jail officers ran away with her remains, leading the grieving family in a bizarre chase all the way to the cemetery.

In May 2014, two day-old Diona Andrea died due to persistent pulmonary hypertension after a difficult pregnancy by her mother Andrea Rosal.

Rosal was arrested when she was seven months pregnant and repeatedly refused hospitalization despite health complaints.

“If this happened to the infants of Nona Espinosa and Reina Mae Nasino, what about other prisoners who also lost their newborn after being separated from them? There are stories in the dark that must come to light, but let the plight of baby Carlen and baby River remind the government of its obligation to prioritize the protection of the innocent,” the group asked.

The group demanded that the government should grant liberties to pregnant detainees and allow them to care for their infants as “there are other custodial and judicial measures to enforce their appearance in court.”

KAPATID pointed out the importance of keeping mother and child together as breastfeeding is essential for survival, especially for those born with health concerns.

“While Carlen was born with a cleft palate, Nona Espinosa could have been able to give what her child needs had they not been separated too soon,” the group said.

“It is clear that even when it was sickness that took their lives, it was the Duterte regime’s blatant violence against women and inhumane treatment of prisoners that killed Baby Carlen,” Kabataan para sa Karapatan-Negros Oriental added.

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