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UA 387/94 - Colombia: fear for safety: Luis Guillermo Perez Casas, Pedro Julio Mahecha Avila

, رقم الوثيقة: AMR 23/083/1994

There are fears for the safety of two human rights lawyers working for the lawyers collective "Corporacion Colectivo de Abogados Jose Alvear Restrepo" (CCA). On 26 October two men followed Luis Guillermo Perez Casas to his office in Santafe de Bogota and followed his family to his son's school gates. The CCA have reported similar incidents during the last three weeks. The CCA is working on numerous important cases of human rights violations in which members of the police and army are implicated and its lawyers have been subjected to death threats and harassment in the past.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 23/83/94
Distr: UA/SC
UA 387/94 Fear for Safety 27 October 1994
COLOMBIA Luis Guillermo PEREZ CASAS, human rights lawyer
Pedro Julio MAHECHA AVILA, human rights lawyer
On 26 October 1994, two men on an unmarked motorcycle followed human rights
lawyer Luis Guillermo Pérez Casas to his office in Santafé de Bogotá and then
followed his family to his son's school gates. The men only left when police
assistance was summoned.
Luis Guillermo Pérez Casas works for the lawyers collective "Corporación
Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo (CCA)". The CCA reports that similar
incidents have occurred frequently during the last three weeks and there is
renewed concern for the safety of those who work for the CCA, in particular
lawyers Luis Guillermo Pérez Casas and Pedro Julio Mahecha Avila.
The CCA is working on numerous important cases of human rights violations in
Colombia in which members of the police and army are implicated and its lawyers
have been subjected to death threats and harassment because of their work in
the past. The serious nature of the intimidation led to the CCA's President,
Rafael Barrios, leaving Colombia for a place of safety in October 1993 for
six months. Further incidents of intimidation were reported in May 1994. (Please
refer to UA 297/93 (AMR 23/51/93), UA 108/94 (AMR 23/28/94) and UA 182/94 and
Follow-up (AMR 23/37/94 and AMR 23/60/94)).
On 9 September 1994, President Ernesto Samper Pizano, who took office on 7
August, declared in a speech that his government "would seek to have constructive
relations with human rights organizations with the aim of suppressing human
rights violations and would do everything necessary to protect the lives and
integrity of human rights workers. "Buscará sostener con los organismos de
derechos humanos relaciones constructivas en procura de suprimir las
violaciones de tales derechos y pondrá de su parte cuanto sea necesario para
proteger la vida y la integridad de sus miembros".
The CCA states that they have met many times with government authorities to
put their concerns to them and have put forward practical suggestions for
measures which would offer them more protection. They state that they have
not yet received any adequate response and none of the measures of protection
requested have been granted. Amnesty International calls upon President Samper
to stand by his commitment and ensure that these and all other human rights
workers can carry out their lawful activities without fear for their or for
their family's lives.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
In recent years widespread and systematic human rights violations have occurred
in Colombia, including extrajudicial executions, "disappearance", torture and
arbitrary arrest. Particular targets have been human rights workers and
community and trade union leaders. President Ernesto Samper Pizano, who assumed
office on 7 August 1994, has publicly stated that tackling the human rights
situation will be a priority for his government. However, members of the
2
Colombian armed and security forces continue to commit serious abuses with
virtual impunity. Only exceptionally are perpetrators brought to justice;
the vast majority of members of the armed forces responsible for gross human
rights violations remain in active service.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail
letters either in Spanish or in your own language:
- expressing concern for the safety of human rights lawyers working for the
lawyers collective "Corporación Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo
(CCA)", in particular Luis Guillermo rez Casas and Pedro Julio Mahecha Avila,
following reports that they are again being intimidated;
- urging that these reports be investigated, the results made public and those
responsible brought to justice;
- urging that concrete measures, deemed appropriate to those concerned, be
taken to protect the lives of those working for the CCA and their families
in line with the commitment made by President Samper to ensure the safety of
human rights workers.
APPEALS TO
1) President of Colombia:
Señor Presidente Ernesto Samper Pizano
Presidente de la República
Palacio de Nariño
Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: President Samper Pizano, Bogotá, Colombia
Tx: 44281 PALP CO
Fax: + 57 1 286 7434/287 7939/284 7186
Salutation:Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente/Dear President Samper
2) Procurator General:
Dr. Orlando Vásquez Velásquez
Procurador General de la Nación
Procuraduría General
Edificio Banco Ganadero
Carrera 5, No. 15-80
Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: Procurador General Vasquez, Bogotá, Colombia
Faxes:+ 57 1 342 9723/281 7531
Salutation:Sr. Procurador de la Nación/Dear Dr. Vásquez
3) Attorney General
Dr. Alfonso Valdivieso Sarmiento
Fiscal General de la Nación
Fiscalia General de la Nación
Apartado Aéreo 29855
Santafé de Bogotá
Colombia
Telegrams:Fiscal General Valdivieso, Fiscalia General, Bogotá, Colombia
Faxes:+ 57 1 288 2828/211 6678
Salutation: Estimado Valdivieso/Dear Dr. Valdivieso
4) Advocate for the People:
Dr. Jaime Córdoba Triviño
Defensor del Pueblo
Defensoría del Pueblo
3
Calle 35 No. 7-25 piso 5
Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams:Defensor del Pueblo Trivino, Defensoria del Pueblo,
Bogota, Colombia
Faxes:+ 57 1 288 6683
Salutation: Estimado Dr Triviño/Dear Dr. Triviño
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Lawyers' Association:
Corporación Colectivo de Abogados
AA 44456
Santa Fé de Bogotá
Colombia
and to diplomatic representatives of Colombia accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 8 December 1994.

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