Human Rights Defender and Student Leader Threatened
News from Colombia |
on: Thursday, 23 December 2010
Eduardo Castro Caamano, the regional General Secretary of the ACEU Student’s Union and a member of the National Victims Movement (MOVICE) has received death threats adding to the long list of human rights defenders in the region under threat. The Sucre branch of MOVICE was set up in 2006, and its members have since been victims of over 80 aggressions, including threats, illegal searches, and physical assaults, including assassination.
The threats against Mr Castro began after he participated in elections to Sucre University’s Supreme Council in May 2010. The first was when a phone call with a friend was brusquely interrupted by a stranger’s voice saying “What are you up to Eduardo? You should stay quiet.” Since then Mr Castro has been repeatedly called and sent text messages, with the latest message, on December 21st 2010, saying “You left-wing gonorrhoea, I’m coming to put lead in your head.”
On December 10th Mr Castro was also confronted by the alumni representative on the University Supreme Council, who accused him of being a guerrilla. Such accusations have been prelude to assassination attempts by paramilitaries and state forces in many cases, and thus are particularly worrying for Mr Castro and the Sucre branch of MOVICE. Sucre University has been the scene of many threats from paramilitaries and supposedly demobilised paramilitary groups.
In May 2010 Rogelio Martinez Mercado, a member of Sucre MOVICE was killed in the town of San Onofre, and other members have been threatened. In November 2008 MOVICE Sucre leader Carmelo Agamez Berrio was arrested and imprisoned without trial after helping to organise the ‘Citizens Hearings for Truth’ which led to the arrests of several politicians and paramilitaries on charges of corruption and human rights abuses.