Elderly Australian professor flies home after week trapped in Manila airport

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elderly Australian professor
Australian law professor and human rights advocate Gill Boehringer is now on his way home.

The elderly Australian professor denied entry to the Philippines has finally left the country after almost a week trapped in an airport.

Gill Boehringer, an 84-year-old human rights advocate, boarded his flight back to Guangzhou, China, his port of origin, at noon today (Tuesday, August 14), the Bureau of Immigration (BI) has confirmed.

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Professor Boehringer arrived at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport in the small hours of Wednesday, August 8, only to discover he had been included on the BI’s ‘blacklist’ for supposedly attending a protest rally in November 2015.

He was then held in his airline’s ‘exclusion room’ to await a return flight to his point of departure. However, due to doubts over the state of his health, his airline initially refused to carry him, leaving him trapped in a state of limbo.

His lawyers petitioned the BI to allow him to enter the country temporarily for a health check.

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As we reported last week, this plea fell on deaf ears, with the BI denying any responsibility for his detention. 

The elderly Australian professor has denied the allegations against him.

Speaking in a video message recorded in the airport exclusion room yesterday, he said: “I am not a terrorist. I am a human rights defender.” 

The BI has denied that the professor’s expulsion was part of a crackdown on critics, saying the policy against foreigners taking part in political activities was “nothing new”.

“If they (foreigners) have issues or concerns about how the government is being handled, there are other ways of expressing their opinions, other more peaceful ways,” Ms Sandoval said.

Professor Boehringer, formerly the head of law school of Sydney’s Macquarie University, has taught and researched at universities in the US, UK and Tanzania. He also served as an international election observer in the Philippines in 2007, 2010, and 2013. He is American by birth and married to a Filipina from Mindanao.

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Gill Boehringer's message Part 4 of 4

Watch Gill Boehringer's message Part 4 of 4: Australian law professor and human rights defender Gill Boehringer updates on his status and explains how he was held while being kept in the dark about the charges against him. It is now the 6th day of Prof. Gill's detention inside the Ninoy Aquino International Airport Terminal 1. As per the order released by the Bureau of Immigration today, Prof. Gill will be flown out of the country and back to Australia tomorrow morning."I am not a terrorist. I am a human rights defender" – Prof. Gill Boehringer#HandsOffGill #HandsOffHumanRightsDefenders

Posted by KARAPATAN Alliance for the Advancement of People's Rights on Monday, August 13, 2018

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