Duterte tells UN human rights expert: 'Go to hell'


MANILA, June 3 (Reuters) - Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has told a U.N human rights expert who said the country's judicial independence was under threat to 'go to hell', warning against interference in domestic affairs.

The Philippine Supreme Court voted last month to remove Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno, whom Duterte had called an "enemy" for voting against controversial government proposals, citing violations in the way she was appointed.

Her dismissal is sending a chilling message to other supreme court judges and members of the judiciary, Diego García-Sayán, special U.N rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, said on Friday.

"Tell him not to interfere with the affairs of my country. He can go to hell," Duterte told a news conference late Saturday night, prior to leaving for an official visit to South Korea.

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Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte
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Philippine leader Rodrigo Duterte
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (C) clenches fist with members of the Philippine Army during his visit at the army headquarters in Taguig city, metro Manila, Philippines October 4, 2016. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he delivers a speech to the members of the Philippine Army during a visit at the army headquarters in Taguig city, metro Manila, Philippines October 4, 2016. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte gestures as he delivers a speech to the members of the Philippine Army during a visit at the army headquarters in Taguig city, metro Manila, Philippines October 4, 2016. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte shows a brochure of the new Glock pistols to be issued to members of the Philippine Army during a visit at the army headquarters in Taguig city, metro Manila, Philippines October 4, 2016. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte speaks during a news conference in Davao city, southern Philippines August 21, 2016. REUTERS/Lean Daval Jr/File Photo
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte (C) clenches fist with members of the Philippine Army during his visit at the army headquarters in Taguig city, metro Manila, Philippines October 4, 2016. REUTERS/Romeo Ranoco
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte gestures while delivering a speech before female police officers during a gathering in Davao city, Philippines, September 30, 2016. Picture taken September 30, 2016. REUTERS/Lean Daval Jr TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Philippines' President Rodrigo Duterte (L) speaks during his meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in Hanoi, September 29, 2016. REUTERS/Hoang Dinh Nam/Pool
Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte leaves the opening ceremony of the ASEAN Summit in Vientiane, Laos September 6, 2016. REUTERS/Jorge Silva
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The outspoken Philippine leader is known for defying international pressure and his diatribes against critics.

In particular, he has railed against former U.S. President Barack Obama and U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial killings, Agnes Callamard, for criticizing the bloody war on drugs, his signature public safety project.

Sereno, the first chief justice to be removed by her peers, had voted against several of the Duterte's proposals including the extension of martial rule in the volatile southern Philippines.

(Reporting by Neil Jerome Morales; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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