04/10/2014, 00.00
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Manila, doubts and uncertainties in case of Italian diplomat detained for alleged child abuse

Interviewed by AsiaNews, the activist who denounced Daniel Bosio confirms: a "strange" situation, that had to be reported to the police. The ambassador’s lawyer speaks of a "terrible mistake" and the man "terribly affected". A support page on Facebook with hundreds of likes who believe he is "unfairly accused".

Manila ( AsiaNews) - Two conflicting versions, with the defense maintaining their client's innocence and the prosecution confirming its version that "something strange" happened. However, so far there the only thing that is certain is that the accused, perhaps "superficially", took three street children off the street without consulting their relatives, fed them, washed them and offered them a few days of leisure - including an overnight stay - at a water park. Doubts and uncertainties surround the case of diplomat Daniel Bosio, the Italian ambassador (suspended) to Turkmenistan, who was arrested in the night between the 5th and 6th of April and locked up in a Philippine prison for human trafficking, abuse, exploitation and discrimination of minors (art . 6 of the 1992 Act ) . For now, the man is still in jail, waiting for further investigations and the possible formalization of the charges.

Philippine law - in an attempt to combat pedophilia and the sexual abuse of minors - stipulates that any adult seen in the company of a child in public, with which he or she has no kinship, or legal bond, and with an age difference of more than 10 years, must be reported to the police. He was reported by two activists of the Bahay Tuluyan Foundation, a Philippine NGOs engaged in the fight against child abuse and child pornography, alerted by his "suspicious behavior" with three children of 9, 10 and 12 years.

In the last few hours a cross-party (and international) group of supporters and friends of the 46 year-old Italian diplomat has  created a Facebook  page to show support and solidarity. The group, which already has hundreds of members, claims he was "falsely accused of child abuse for wanting to help children, an activity that he has been involved in for over 15 years." Many speak of  "an incredible error of judgment" , adding that Bosio "has always been involved in philanthropy and charity work for children". Others are ready to "defend him to the last, because he is not the person being described by the media".

For the first time the ambassador's lawyer has also made an official statement.  According to Elizabeth Busuito his arrest is a "terrible mistake" that must be "untangled as soon as possible". She is resolute in the need to "restore the good name" of the diplomat , who "has devoted his life to volunteer work" and who is currently "visibly suffering". The lawyer is pushing for a "swift" clarification of the facts by the Philippine justice system,  for charges that are based on "vague allegations".  "Until otherwise proven - added Busuito - there should be a presumption of innocence. Instead, the man is under arrest in Manila without even having understood why".

However, Bahay Tuluyan Foundation activists confirmed their version of the facts and are ready to stand by, even in a court, the charges against Daniel Bosio. Interviewd by AsiaNews, Catherine Scerri - currently in Australia - who along with the NGO director Lily Fiordelis reported the diplomat to police - confirmed : "I reported him to the police - says the woman - because I felt compelled to do so, out of a sense of responsibility, because the situation that I observed seemed 'strange' ... a foreigner with three street children, in a place far from home, it didn't look like a normal 'nucleus'. "It is not my place to create problems - she adds - and I certainly could not have imagined he was an ambassador, but I have been working for years with children and I felt compelled to do so ... there was an attitude of closeness, even physical closeness, that was excessive in my opinion". In the coming days, probably on the April 16th and 30th, preliminary hearings should be held to decide the diplomat's fate. "It is almost unbelievable - adds Catherine Scerri, who has worked with street children on a daily basis for 11 years - that these gestures, this behavior is that of  a public figure, even if his intentions were good, there are many other ways to help. Having said that , it is not my place to judge, I think I only did my duty by acting according to my conscience".


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