Statement and Tribute of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers
“I have never worked as a lawyer with the aim of making money, or in litigations for money. Since I studied at the university and we were taught that being a lawyer entails a commitment to justice, I assumed it as such, with absolute passion. Since that point in time I have been involved in cases where justice has been denied, or in cases of a political nature insofar as I understand politics—a commitment to those whom are denied justice everyday.”
As translated by Granma International
The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL-Philippines), an association of human rights lawyers, students of law, legal practitioners and advocates for justice and human rights in the Philippines, grieve the untimely passing of a great comrade, lawyer, and human rights advocate, Leonard Weinglass.
Leonard Weinglass is an institution in the progressive legal community, not only in the United States but internationally as well. He was considered an expert in civil rights legislation. A staunch human rights defender, Weinglass has continuously handled cases in defense of those whose political and civil rights have been violated and trampled upon, and was counsel in civil rights cases such as those involving the famous Chicago 7 and actress Jane Fonda accused of treason for anti- Vietnam war advocacies, Patty Hearst kidnapping, Daniel Ellsberg of the Pentagon Papers case, and the landmark decision in United States vs. US Districts Court which ruled on the issue of surveillance in the case against members of the Black Panthers. His dedication in the case of the Cuban 5, which we have supported, is one of the many examples of his undaunted commitment and advocacy for freedom and human rights.
Leonard Weinglass is an ardent supporter of the Philippine democratic struggle since the Martial Law years under the dictatorial regime of then President Ferdinand E. Marcos and has kept abreast of Philippine politics and events, especially on issues involving peace and human rights. He was supposed to attend the 5th Conference of Lawyers in Asia-Pacific in the Philippines on September 2010 but was unable to do so for health reasons. Nonetheless, he made it a point to send his presentation which was subsequently read and presented to in his behalf in the said conference.
We, from the NUPL, give our highest honor and salute to Leonard Weinglass.
We may have lost a great libertarian lawyer in his passing, but we must take inspiration in his life, work and dedication to the cause of freedom, democracy and human rights. We must carry on what he has fought for and continue to stand and fight for the cause of the poor, the oppressed and the exploited. # # #
March 25, 2011