The 54 year-old Dane should have learnt the decision of his case on Tuesday 22 September 2015. Instead, his prison sentence in the Philippines has been extended indefinitely. The court system in the Philippines operates differently than the Danish one: where a Danish court operates with one single case and only begins another when the other case has reached its decision, a Filipino court can have several cases with monthly to yearly intervals before finishing them. On this day the Danish case was the sixth case managed in the Filipino court.
The Dane, only referred to as NJ, has been accused of child abuse of three girls and human trafficking, but according to the Danish man he has been set up. He declares himself innocent.
“The girls have been lying to the police. Everything is fake. There are some adults who want to take advantage of the fact I gave the three girls shelter,” he told to Danish newspaper BT.
If the court declares him guilty he is going to serve a life sentence. He has been living in the Philippines for 5 years, and for the last 3 years he had been working for a Danish-owned call-center in Cebu and living with his girlfriend. That was 7 months ago. Now he is waiting for a decision on his case which seems to be more unclear than expected.
“My girlfriend visited me during the first 3 months I served the prison sentence, but it ended little by little. She did not have money enough to visit me and she could not stand to help me anymore either,” NJ tells.
Instead the Danish Embassy in Philippines has been visiting the Danish prisoner and has made sure to give him money for food and other necessities. They cannot do much more: they are not allowed to give him proper legal assistance in court.
The prison also has its demands for behaviour and rules on personal belongings the prisoners are allowed to have. NJ told about an episode where he had a cellphone smuggled into his cell, but it was exposed and the punishment was inhuman. NJ lost all his privileges and was hit with an old car tyre filled with lead.
What NJ has been accused of would have been met by violence in Danish prisons. This is not the case in the prison in Cebu.
“You don’t judge each other here,” he says. He tries to kill time with selling coffee in the prison. Meanwhile, he is facing a serious depression. “I start to fall down in a darker mood than the first months. The worst thing is not to know when the decision will take place. I am not afraid of being judged, because I know I am innocent. But I am afraid I myself will make an end to all of it..,” he says to a journalist from BT.
There are about 2.300 prisoners in Cebu City Jail where NJ serves his prison sentence. The prison is officially prescribed to hold only 1.600 people. NJ sits in one of the better departments where prisoners have certain privileges, for example the options for cooking and buying ingredients outside. This department is made for prisoners who are foreigners or of a higher social status.