EXTERNAL AI Index: AMR 23/48/95
14 August 1995
Further information on UA 182/95 (AMR 23/42/95, 27 July 1995) - Threats / Fear
for Safety and new concerns: Fear of Torture / Possible "Disappearances" /
Possible Extrajudicial Execution
COLOMBIAPedro LEÓN, peasant farmer leader
Carlos RAMÍREZ, peasant farmer
Moisés GARCÍA, aged 68, peasant farmer
Alba Luz BALDERRAMA (f)
Rafael JIMÉNEZ MORENO
Fears for the safety of peasant farmers and their leaders participating in
a strike action in Ibagué, department of Tolima, have been heightened by reports
of the "disappearance" of three men and the possible extrajudicial execution
of a woman involved in the protests.
Carlos Ramírez, from the village of El Líbano, department of Tolima, was
reportedly last seen, in Ibagué, on 7 August 1995, surrounded by members of
the security forces.
On 8 August, some 800 peasant farmers were travelling from Planadas, department
of Tolima, to Ibagué to participate in the demonstrations, when their convoy
was stopped by army and police personnel at about 11am near the community of
Castilla, department of Tolima. The farmers were told that they could not
proceed because "en El Espinal y Saldaña la guerrilla está matando campesinos"
("in El Espinal and Saldaña the guerrillas are killing peasant farmers").
The farmers protested by sitting in the road and demanding to speak to the
The army responded by firing tear-gas and beating people, including minors.
Witnesses saw Pedro León, president of the Junta de Acción Comunal, Communal
Action Council, of the municipality of Planadas, being beaten. He has not
been seen since. 68-year-old Moisés García was also reportedly beaten, since
which time his whereabouts have also remained unknown. Rafael Jiménez Moreno
was beaten with a rifle until he was unconscious, and he was subsequently
detained. He is reportedly in detention in the municipality of Purificación,
department of Tolima.
Alba Luz Balderrama, who reportedly fainted as a result of the tear-gas, was
on the Castilla bridge when a peasant farmer came to her aid. According to
witnesses, the farmer was attacked by members of the police and Alba Luz
Balderrama was thrown off the bridge. Her whereabouts are unknown and there
is serious concern for her safety.
Fears for peasant leaders and those involved in the strike action have been
still further increased by the publication of leaflets, reportedly distributed
by members of the security forces in recent days, which accuse the strike leaders
of being subversives. The leaflets reportedly give the telephone numbers for
the police and the army. It has also been reported that members of the security
forces have labelled the peasant farmers involved in the strike action as
subversives in radio broadcasts and in newspapers. In the past people labelled
as being guerrillas or guerrilla sympathizers have faced death threats and
other human rights violations.