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Free Colombian Political Prisoners
There are currently hundreds of political prisoners in Colombia's jails.
They include numerous trade unionists, student activists, community and indigenous leaders, human rights defenders and academics - all imprisoned for their opposition to the Colombian regime. Most are jailed without trial, though in the few cases in which people are convicted they often face up to 40 years in prison for 'rebellion' - a trumped-up charge that the authorities use against their opponents.
Political prisoners are kept in appalling conditions in overcrowded jails and are often denied medical attention, exercise time and educational opportunities. Many are tortured when first arrested. In women’s prisons, children under the age of three are imprisoned with their mothers - but when they reach three they are taken away and sometimes put into the appalling Colombian 'care' system.
The regime is clearly trying to silence people by locking them up. We are currently campaigning on six prisoners.
On 14th September 2010 David Ravelo Crespo, Colombian human rights activist and journalist was detained by the Colombian authorities, falsely accused of “aggravated homicide”. On 4th December 2012, Mr. Ravelo was convicted and sentenced to more than 18 years in prison and is now being held in La Picota Prison, Bogota.
The FENSUAGRO Three
During the summer of 2011, six members of Fensuagro, the Colombian agricultural workers’ trade union, were detained in the region of Putumayo. Alexis Antonio Arroyo, Eulogio Tapiero Galindo, Manuel Antonio Marquez and Telmo Cuero Tegue were imprisoned on 22nd June, executive member Climaco de la Cruz Rodriguez on 30th July, and Faustino Carabali Rodriguez a week later on 7th August 2011. In February 2012 Telmo Cuero was absolved and released. In December 2012, Climaco de la Cruz and Faustino Carabali, held in a separate case, were also freed, on the basis of expiration of the legal period for pre-trial detention, following an appeal by their defence. However, the case against them continues, and the remaining three - Alexis Antonio Arroyo, Eulogio Tapiero Galindo, Manuel Antonio Marquez - continue to be detained in Mocoa Prison, Putumayo.more ...
Omar Alfonso Combita
Omar Combita was arrested on 2nd October 2011 and is currently detained in
La Modelo Prison, Bogotá accused of “rebellion”. He is an active member of
FECODE, the Colombian teachers’ trade union and the director of the Santana
Ramos Education Centre
While many more political prisoners continue to be detained in Colombian prisons, JFC has successfully campaigned to set free the following people
Telmo Cuero Tegue, member of Fensuagro, the Colombian agricultural workers’ trade union, was imprisoned from 22nd June 2011 to 12th February 2012 in Mocoa prison, Putumayo, accused of “rebellion”. He was absolved and released immediately, following a JfC campaign.
He was held on accusations of "conspiracy to commit a crime". Although he has been released from prison, the legal process against him continues. Click here for more information on his case
Colombian academic Dr Miguel Angel Beltran was detained and imprisoned on 22nd May 2009. He was released on 7th June 2011 after being absolved of the charges of 'rebellion' and ‘criminal conspiracy for terrorist purposes’. In May 2011 Justice for Colombia and the UCU, coordinated an open letter to Colombian President Santos calling for Dr. Beltran’s release, signed by over 4,000 international academics. Click here to see a copy of the letter with signatories. Click here for more information on his case