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UA 123/91 - Colombia: Possible extrajudicial execution: Santos Mendivelso

, Index number: AMR 23/021/1991

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 23/21/91
Distr: UA/SC
UA 123/91 Possible Extrajudicial Execution 8 April 1991
COLOMBIA: Santos MENDIVELSO, teacher and trade unionist
Amnesty International is concerned at the killing of Santos Mendivelso on 5
April 1991 in Turmeque, in the south of Boyacá department, in circumstances
suggesting he may have been the victim of extrajudicial execution.
Santos Mendivelso was reportedly killed by at least two gunmen as he
left his house in Turmeque. His wife was witness to the killing. He was a teacher
at the Diego de Torres Institute, Instituto Diego de Torres, in Turmeque, a
member of the Boyacá teachers' union, Sindicato de Educadores de Boyacá, and
a political activist with a legal left-wing opposition movement. He was also
a coordinator of human rights education work. Prior to his death he had
reportedly received death threats from paramilitary groups active in the north
of Boyacá and also from members of the armed forces and police which had led
him to take refuge in the town of Turmeque. However, during the last few months
he had also reportedly been subject to threats and harassment by members of
the local police force, which he had denounced to the Colombian
Intercongregational Commission of Justice and Peace, Comisión
Intercongregacional de Justicia y Paz.
People who witnessed the killing allege that the gunmen were later seen
in the company of members of the National Police, and were present when the
body of Santos Mendivelso was removed. The police apparently made no attempt
to detain them.
In recent years Amnesty International has received an increasing number of
reports of human rights violations in Colombia, including extrajudicial
executions. Principal targets have been people associated with trade unions,
civic community movements and legal left-wing parties. The majority of abuses
have been attributed by Colombian authorities to civilian "death squads", which
it claims it is unable to control. However, independent investigations,
including judicial inquiries, have concluded that many such groups operate
under the command or with the support of the Colombian security forces.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters:
- expressing concern at the killing of Santos Mendivelso in circumstances
suggesting he may have been the victim of extrajudicial execution;
- urging that there be an immediate and thorough inquiry into his death, the
results of which should be made public and that those responsible be brought
to justice;
- urging that all possible measures be taken to protect the lives of teachers,
trade unionists and political activists to ensure that they are able to carry
out their lawful activities.
Presidente César Gaviria Trujillo
Presidente de la República
Palacio de Nariño
Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: Presidente Gaviria, Bogota, Colombia
Telexes: 44281 PALP CO
Faxes: + 57 1 286 7324; + 57 1 287 7937;
+ 57 1 283 3066
Dr. Gustavo Arrieta
Procurador General de la Nación
Edificio Banco Ganadero
Carrera 5, No. 15-80
Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: Procurador General Arrieta, Bogota, Colombia
Telexes: 41224 PRGEN CO or 41213 PGNDP CO
Faxes: + 57 1 284 0472
Mayor General Miguel Antonio Gómez Padilla
Director General de la Policía Nacional
Tr. 45, No. 40-11
Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: Dir.-Gen. Policia Nacional, Bogota, Colombia
AA 25916
Bogotá, Colombia
and to diplomatic representatives of Colombia in your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 20 May 1991.

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