Friday, October 14, 2016
Video saved accused Australian ecstasy dealer from brutal execution in the Philippines - because it shows police made up their story
CCTV footage saved innocent Australian man Damain Berg from being brutally executed for selling drugs in the Philippines.
The 35-year-old spent three months locked up facing the death penalty under President Rodrigo 'The Punisher' Duterte's bloody war on drugs that has killed 3,000 people.
Police alleged Mr Berg was caught in a street buy-bust operation selling 50 ecstasy tablets to Canadian man Jeremy Eaton on the night of June 20 in Makati City.
But the Australian knew CCTV footage was the key to proving authorities of his innocence by confirming he was abducted from his hotel room, not in a Philippines backstreet.
'I told Marvie the first day that she came to the police barracks, 'You need to get that CCTV footage because this is all lies, it's the only thing that's going to prove my innocence',' 9News reports.
What CCTV showed was that Mr Berg was not arrested in a sting on the street but at the nearby Red Planet Hotel, where police stormed into his room, guns drawn.
Rather than selling drugs, he was doing some work for his job as the commercial manager for engineering company First Balfour.
CCTV footage shows the group of police officers approaching Mr Berg's room at the Red Planet Hotel
Mr Berg was first seen walking along a corridor outside his third-floor room at 10.50pm. Thirteen minutes later at least four plain-clothes police swam out of the lift.
With them is Eaton who leads them to Mr Berg's room and confirms it is the right one after police point to the door.
The armed officers barge into the room with their guns drawn while a hotel security guard looks on and Mr Berg's unknown companion inside the room steps out.
Mr Berg was hauled out of the room restrained with a quick tie and frogmarched out of the hotel, still in a state of shock
Initially, Mr Berg said he didn't know they were police or why Eaton was there. 'I thought it was some kind of robbery,' he said.
Mr Berg was hauled out of the room restrained with a quick tie and frogmarched out of the hallway, still in a state of shock.
The footage ends with him with his hands tied in front of him waiting for the lift to arrive, surrounded by police - one of whom places his hand on Mr Berg's shoulder.
The CCTV video secured his acquittal with the court finding it 'belied the claim of the prosecution... and destroyed the integrity of their testimonies'.
Throughout the trial Mr Berg had watched police officers give sworn evidence in court later shown to be false.
After his arrest, Mr Berg, bewildered and in a state of shock, hauled in front of the press and then locked in a police holding cell where he slept curled-up on the floor with 15 others for a month.
He was later transferred to 'horrible' Makati City Jail where prisoners mete out punishment in public beatings of inmates.
Mr Berg, from Adelaide, has now spent his first weekend back in Australia with pregnant girlfriend Marvie Torreon.
He knows how close he came to being killed after seeing first hand what it feels like to be a victim of the Philippine's bloody war on drugs.
Just weeks before Mr Berg was arrested, Rodrigo Duterte - aka 'The Punisher' - was elected president and by June's end the country's violent crackdown on drugs started to kick into gear.
Since then more than 3,000 people suspected of drug dealing have been estimated to have been killed in police operations and by vigilantes.
'In a split second, my life was gone. I was taken away from my pregnant girlfriend, I lost my job,' Mr Berg said on Monday.
But he still doesn't know why police burst into his life.
'I have thought about this every night, especially when I was incarcerated. I still don't know what happened,' he said.
'How are you meant to believe that all these people who are being killed in buy-busts are guilty of drug dealing when they completely fabricated this whole thing against me?'
'Marvie and I had been arguing while I was at work,' he said, explaining why he was not at the couple's shared home but at a hotel nearby when he was arrested.
Since his acquittal Mr Berg said he has received threatening text messages from unknown phone numbers.
Original report here
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Posted by bussorah at 1:19 AM