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Bolivia: Fear of torture: David Herrera, Representative of Permanent Assembly for Human Rights (APDH) and Coca-leaf Growers' leader; Vicente Vigabriel, Cancio Nina Ramirez, Marcial Alave, members of peasant unions at Parque Isiboro Secure; Osvaldo Mamani,

, رقم الوثيقة: AMR 18/007/1995

Between 19 and 21 September 1995, members of the Mobile Rural Patrol Unit and combined police security forces carried out a wave of arrests of peasant and community leaders in the Chapare area of Cochabamba department. AI's concern for the safety of the detainees has been heightened by allegations that at least some of them have been ill-treated during interrogation. One of the detainees, David Herrera, has reportedly remained in incommunicado detention since his arrest.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AMR 18/07/95
UA 227/95 Fear of torture 28 September 1995
BOLIVIADavid HERRERA, Representative of Asamblea Permanente de Derechos Humanos
(APDH), Permanent Assembly for Human Rights, and Coca-leaf
Growers' leader
Vicente VIGABRIEL ) members of peasant
Cancio NINA RAMIREZ ) unions at
Marcial ALAVE ) Parque Isiboro Sécure
Osvaldo MAMANI ) members of
Nemesio MONTAÑO ) community
José CLAROS ) and
Fausto MONTAÑO ) peasant unions
Anselmo CEREZO ) in the
José MENEZES VIGAMONTE ) Chapare area
René RAMIREZ )
Martín VILLAMONTES )
and several others whose names are unknown
Between 19 and 21 September 1995, members of the Unidad Movil de Patrullaje
Rural (UMOPAR), Mobile Rural Patrol Unit, and combined police security forces
carried out a wave of arrests of peasant and community leaders in the Chapare
area of Cochabamba department. Amnesty International's concern for the
detainees' safety has been heightened by allegations that at least some of
them have been ill-treated during interrogation.
The arrests took place during the third phase of the police operation "Agua
Clara" to control and forcibly eradicate coca-leaf crops. According to reports
most of those arrested were picked up in their homes, villages or while working
in the fields. They were initially held incommunicado at the police
installations of the Fuerza Especial contra el Narcotráfico (FELCN) Special
Force Against Drug Trafficking, in Chimoré, until 25 September when they were
transferred to the headquarters of the Policia Técnica Judicial (PTJ), Judicial
Police headquarters, and the "Policia Central" building in Cochabamba.
However, one of the detainees, David Herrera, has reportedly remained in
incommunicado detention in Chimoré since his arrest on 19 September.
On 26 September representatives of the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights
(APDH), Movimiento Franciscano de Justicia y Paz, Franciscan Movement for
Justice and Peace, and members of the press were allowed to interview a number
of the detainees held at the PTJ headquarters. Those interviewed said that
they had been ill-treated, beaten and gagged and generally subjected to duress
during interrogation.
The exact number of detainees remains unclear and official information on their
names and any charges against them is not available. However, press reports
indicate that Vicente Vigabriel, Cancio Nina Ramirez and Marcial Alave have
been charged with participating in disturbances on 15 July 1995 in Villa Bolivar,
Parque Isiboro Sécure, during which a peasant was fatally wounded by an explosive
device. It is not clear what other detainees have been charged with, although
their detention is reportedly connected with coca-crop production and the
narcotics trade.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
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Since the declaration of a 90-day state of siege on 18 April 1995, and its
subsequent extension for another 90 days, a number of police operations have
been conducted to enforce eradication of coca crops in accordance with
agreements between the governments of Bolivia and the United States of America.
During this period waves of short-term arrests of peasants, union and community
leaders in the Department of Cochabamba have taken place and denunciations
of torture and ill-treatment of detainees and the civilian population have
been reported. At least three peasants have been killed during operations
directed by UMOPAR. The apparent lack of immediate and thorough investigations
by the authorities into these allegations of human rights violations heightens
Amnesty International's concern for the physical safety of those arrested.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/faxes/airmail letters in Spanish
or your own language:
- urging that the physical safety of all those detained by UMOPAR between 19
and 21 September 1995 in the department of Cochabamba (naming some) be
guaranteed;
- requesting that a full list of the detainees and their places of detention
be made public;
- seeking clarification of their legal situation;
- urging that all detainees be granted access to their families and lawyers,
seeking assurances that they are being treated in accordance with international
standards.
APPEALS TO:
President
Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente
Lic. Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada
Palacio de Gobierno
La Paz, Bolivia
Faxes: +591 239 1216 (if voice, ask "me puede dar tono de fax, por favor"
Telegrams: President Sánchez de Lozada, La Paz, Bolivia
Salutation: Su Excelencia / Your Excellency
Minister of Government
Sr. Ministro de Gobierno
Dr. Carlos Sánchez Berzaín
Av. Arce Esq. Belisario Salinas
La Paz, Bolivia
Faxes: +591 237 1334
Telegrams: Ministro de Gobierno, La Paz, Bolivia
Salutation: Señor Ministro / Dear Minister
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Sr. Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto
Dr. Antonio Aranibar Quiroga
Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores y Culto
La Paz, Bolivia
Faxes: + 591 237 1155
Telegrams: Ministro Relaciones Exteriores, La Paz, Bolivia
Salutation: Señor Ministro/Dear Minister
COPIES TO:
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Human Rights organizations
Asamblea Permanente de Derechos Humanos
Cajon Postal 9282, LA PAZ, Bolivia
Asamblea Permanente de Derechos Humanos
Casilla 2383, COCHABAMBA, Bolivia
and to diplomatic representatives of BOLIVIA accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 1 November 1995.

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