Three Trade Union Leaders Detained in Colombia
News from Colombia |
on: Friday, 6 March 2009
Three members of the Executive of FEDEAGROMISBOL trade union – which represents miners and other workers in the Bolivar region of Colombia – have been arbitrarily detained and remain in police custody despite no arrest warrant having been issued for them. The men, union President Gabriel Henao, union treasurer Narciso Beleno and the union's chief negotiator Victor Acuna, were all detained by police whilst they attended a meeting in the Balmoral Hotel in the city of Bucaramanga on the afternoon of March 2nd.
A human rights lawyer who was also attending the meeting, Leonardo Jaimes Marin, attempted to intervene and asked that the police provide an arrest warrant, though he himself was threatened with arrest for attempting to obstruct justice.
The men were subsequently taken to the headquarters of the SIJIN intelligence service in Bucaramanga where they were interrogated. They were later released but never informed of why they had been arrested.
The union say that they have been on the receiving end of severe harassment in recent months and report that soldiers working with members of a regional paramilitary death squad have been threatening union legal officer Miguel Anaya. Family members of FEDEAGROMISBOL officials have also received threatening phone calls.