Final Call for David Rabelo’s Release
David Rabelo, Colombian human rights defender, has been imprisoned since 14th September 2010- more than two years without being convicted of any crime. He is accused of “conspiracy to commit a crime” and “aggravated homicide” and held in La Picota high security prison, Bogota. The evidence against him is based on the testimony of former paramilitary witness Mario Jaimes Mejía, currently in prison as a result of David’s human rights work. The evidence he gave against David allowed him to reduce his prison sentence from 40 years to a maximum of eight
After a grueling legal process marred by severe delays, the final hearing in David’s trial has now adjourned and he awaits a verdict.
Justice for Colombia, along with British trade unions, lawyers and MPs, have pressured throughout David’s detention to ensure a fair process, despite the odds. At this crucial point, we must let the Colombian authorities know the international community is watching.
Please send the below email to the Colombian ambassador calling for David’s release. A copy will also be sent to the Foreign Office Minister with responsibility for Latin America.
For more info on David Rabelo’s case click here.
I am writing to express my concern about the case of Colombian human rights defender David Rabelo Crespo accused of “conspiracy to commit a crime“ and “aggravated homicide” and imprisoned since 14th September 2010- more than two years - without being convicted of any crime.
Before his arrest, Mr. Rabelo was the spokesperson for regional human rights group CREDHOS, and a leading member of MOVICE, Colombia’s largest human rights organisation. Mr. Rabelo made several high profile public denouncements against former president Uribe and his human rights work has led to the imprisonment of various paramilitaries and members of the Colombian army.
Furthermore, the case against Mr. Rabelo is based on testimonies from former paramilitaries, one of whom - Mario Jaimes Mejía, alias “El Panadero” - was in fact imprisoned as a result of Mr. Rabelo’s work. Testifying against Mr. Rabelo has also allowed him to reduce his prison sentence from over 40 years, to a maximum of eight.
It is clear that Mr. Rabelo’s detention is a reprisal for his work dedicated to the defence of human rights, and an attempt to silence any further criticism: he is a political prisoner.
I understand that despite long delays, the final hearing in Mr. Rabelo’s trial has adjourned and he now awaits a verdict. We know that throughout David’s detention numerous colleagues in the UK, among them members of parliament, lawyers and trade unionists, have called for his release.
I wish to add my support for David Rabelo, and his right to freedom.
Mr. Rabelo’s case demonstrates that your government continues to use the undemocratic practice of imprisoning those who speak out against human rights abuses.
I urge you to release Mr. Rabelo and others like him without delay.
I look forward to progress in this matter.
cc: Rt Hon Hugo Swire MP, Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office