Albert Wilson v Philippines

Albert Wilson is a UK national who was arrested in The Philippines in 1996, convicted on fabricated charges, and held on death row in very difficult conditions. He was released in December 1999 and returned to the UK.


Albert Wilson is a British national who first went to The Philippines as a tourist in 1990.

He eventually moved there, got married and lived with his wife and her two children from a previous marriage.

In 1996, in what turned out to be fabricated charges as part of a plot to extort money, he was arrested for rape. He was tried and convicted after a trial replete with procedural errors and was found guilty and placed on death row.

In The Philippines, the conditions of detention on death row were excruciatingly difficult for all death row inmates, but particularly for foreigners, who were continually extorted by other inmates with the acquiescence and in some cases on the direct instruction of the prison authorities.

He suffered a range of other abuses. He characterised his time on death row as living like an animal in constant fear, living by his wits and the charity of his visitors.

After being on death row for approximately one and half years, on 25 October 1999, the Solicitor General lodged a motion with the Supreme Court acknowledging that the rape charge was a fabrication, and recommending a reversal of the lower court’s decision.

On 21 December 1999, the Supreme Court reversed the decision of the trial court and set aside the conviction, and ordered Albert’s immediate release from custody. It described the accusation made against him and which resulted in the charges leading to his conviction as “not worthy of credence”.

On Albert’s release, the Immigration Commissioner ordered that he was required to pay fees and fines to the Bureau of Immigration for overstaying on his tourist visa (he was in jail on death row during the entire period of his overstay). He was forced to pay before being allowed to leave the country.

Albert is now back in the United Kingdom.


In 2002, REDRESS filed a claim with the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC), to say that his experiences in the Philippines amounted to torture.

The UNHRC agreed, and advised the Philippines Government to provide Albert with an appropriate remedy.

To date, the Philippines Government has failed to implement the UNHRC decision.

In September 2009, with the help of senior Philippines human rights lawyers, an application was made to the Philippines Supreme Court to force the Government to provide Albert with a remedy. This case was thrown out by the Supreme Court in December 2016.

In November 2014, REDRESS’s International Legal Advisor visited the Philippines and discussed the implementation of the UNHRC’s decision in the case with lawyers, the Philippines Commission on Human Rights, and the Department of Foreign Affairs. Despite the Commission on Human Rights and the Department of Foreign Affairs having committed to following-up on the case with relevant government agencies, there has been no progress.

In May 2016 REDRESS made a further submission to the UNHRC expressing concern at the Philippines’ on-going failure to implement the UNHRC’s decision, and proposing that the Philippines develop an “implementation plan” to share with the UNHRC and REDRESS.

Following the dismissal of Albert’s case in The Philippines in December 2016, REDRESS has been engaged in discussions with the UK Government’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in the hope that they will use their powers to adopt (“espouse”) his case against the Government of The Philippines. These discussions are ongoing.


  • Complaint to UNHRC, 2002
  • UNHRC decision, 30 October 2003 (published 11 November 2003)
  • Philippines’ Supreme Court decision, 7 December 2016


Case name: Wilson v Philippines

Court/Body: UNHRC

Date filed: 2002

Current status: Decision reached

Legal representation: REDRESS

Case name: Wilson v Philippines


Court/Body: Philippines’ Supreme Court

Date filed: September 2009

Current status: Decision reached

Legal representation: Roque & Butuyan, Philippines