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Colombia: Further information on possible "disappearance" / fear for safety: Jairo Barahona Martinez and new name: Ernesto Fernandez Fezter

, Index number: AMR 23/008/1995

The body of Jairo Barahona Martinez has been found near the town of Curumani, Cesar Department, showing evidence of torture. Another well-known local activist, Ernesto Fernandez Fezter, also a leader of the trade union ADUCESAR, has been killed in the last few days. AI is extremely concerned for the safety of other human rights and popular activists in Cesar.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 23/08/95
Distr: UA/SC
23 February 1995
Further information on UA 359/94 (AMR 23/76/94, 30 September 1994) - Possible
"disappearance" / Fear for Safety
COLOMBIAJairo BARAHONA MARTINEZ, aged 33, human rights activist and community
leader
New name:Ernesto FERNANDEZ FEZTER, aged 42, human rights activist and trade
union leader
Amnesty International has learned that the body of Jairo Barahona Martínez
has been found near the town of Curumaní, Cesar department, showing evidence
of torture. This news, coupled with reports that another local activist,
Ernesto Fernández Fezter, has been killed in the past few days, have heightened
the organization's fears for the safety of other human rights and popular
activists in Cesar.
Jairo Barahona was forcibly abducted from his home in Pailitas municipality,
Cesar, on 29 September 1994 by armed men who identified themselves as members
of the security forces' Anti-extortion and Kidnapping Unit, Unidad
Antiextorsión y Secuetro (UNASE). Witnesses reported seeing the vehicle in
which he was driven away close to Curumaní. His body was found on the road
between Curumaní and Bucaramanga. He had been severely tortured before being
shot.
On 20 February 1995, Ernesto Fernández was driving towards his home in Pailitas
with his children, aged three and 11, when he was shot dead by three youths.
The children were unharmed. Witnesses recognized the youths, whom they stated
had been responsible for the deaths of other local community leaders. The killers
escaped with apparent ease, despite the fact that the town is heavily militarized
as a result of guerrilla activity in the area.
Ernesto Fernández was leader of the trade union ADUCESAR, Association of Cesar
Teachers, Asociación de Educadores del Cesar. He was also well-known as a human
rights activist and was founder of the Pailitas Movement for Civic-Community
Integration, Movimiento de Integración Cívico Comunal de Pailitas, of which
Jairo Barahona was also a member. Since its foundation in 1990, the Pailitas
Movement's members have reported frequent incidents of intimidation, death
threats and harassment and several of its leaders and activists have been killed.
In 1990 Ernesto Fernández received a sufragio, an invitation to his own funeral
mass which led him to leave the area for several months. The names of the
Movement's leaders and other local community activists have appeared frequently
on pamphlets and alleged "black lists" which have been circulated in the
department of Cesar.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and
airmail letters:
- expressing concern at the apparent extrajudicial execution of Jairo Barahona
Martínez, urging that there be an immediate and thorough investigation, the
results of which should be made public and those found responsible brought
to justice;
- expressing concern at the killing of Ernesto Fernández Fezter in an area
which is heavily militarized, urging that there be an immediate and thorough
investigation into his death, the results of which should be made public and
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those found responsible brought to justice;
- urging that all possible measures be taken to protect the lives of the leaders
of the Pailitas Movement for Civic-Community Integration and other local
community activists, in accordance with the declared commitment of President
Ernesto Samper Pizano's government to do everything necessary to protect the
lives and integrity 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
Telexes: 44281 PALP CO
Faxes: + 57 1 286 7434 / 287 7939
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 1 245 5292
Salutation: Estimado Valdivieso/Dear Dr. Valdivieso
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Alternative Legal Association
MINGA
AA 40303
Santafé 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 12 April 1995.

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