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UA 157/94 - Colombia: fear for safety / extrajudicial execution: Gustavo Humberto Marroquin Iglesias, Leonardo Marroquin Vargas, Luz Miryam Iglesias, Alvaro Martinez Pinzon

, Index number: AMR 23/035/1994

Gustavo Humberto Marroquin, aged 8, was reportedly shot dead by soldiers early on 11 March 1994. The army have said that the child was killed during an armed confrontation between the Jaime Rooke Battallion and members of the armed opposition FARC. However, on 18 March Alvaro Martin Pinzon broadcast reports from witnesses which claimed that the boy had been killed in cold blood. The same day, the Brigade commander demanded that copies of the witnesses' declaration be sent to the army base. There is serious concern for the safety of the boy's parents, Leonardo Marroquin Vargas and Luz Miryam Iglesias and for the fournalist, Alvaro Martinez Pinzon.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 23/35/94
Distr: UA/SC
UA 157/94 Fear for Safety/Extrajudicial Execution 20 April 1994
COLOMBIA:Gustavo Humberto MARROQUIN IGLESIAS, aged 8 - killed
Leonardo MARROQUIN VARGAS
Luz Miryam IGLESIAS (f)
Alvaro MARTINEZ PINZON, journalist
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of Leonardo Marroquín Vargas
and Luz Myriam Iglesias, following the reported killing of their eight year-old
son Gustavo Humberto Marroquín Iglesias on 11 March 1994, close to his home
on the San Martín farm in the community of Laureles near Ibagué, Tolima
department, by members of the Colombian armed forces. Amnesty International
is also concerned for the safety of journalist Alvaro Martínez Pinzón who has
been investigating the killing.
According to witnesses, Gustavo Marroquín left his home at 6 am to join his
father in the farm's milking shed. When 200 metres from his house, he saw
several units from the army's Infantry Battalion No. 18 "Jaime Rooke", Batallón
de Infantería No 18 "Jaime Rooke" (which is attached to the VI Brigade, VI
Brigada) approaching. Frightened, he turned and ran towards the house when,
reportedly without warning, he was shot several times by the soldiers. He
fell, seriously wounded but despite his cries for help the soldiers prevented
his mother from going to him. When his father arrived the soldiers reportedly
accused him of being a guerrilla and informed him that they had just killed
two guerrillas in an armed confrontation.
The soldiers took control of the house and continued to deny any assistance
to the child, who died where he had fallen. His body was later removed by
the Attorney's office, fiscalía, in Ibagué and the 101st Military Penal Court,
which is based within the VIth Brigade. His parents were not, as far as Amnesty
International is aware, detained. The army issued a press release stating
that the child was killed during an armed confrontation between the Jaime Rooke
Battalion and members of the armed opposition group Revolutionary Armed Forces
of Colombia, Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC).
On 18 March Alvaro Martínez Pinzón, journalist and news director with the radio
station "Colmundo" in Ibagué, broadcast reports from witnesses contradicting
the official army version. According to the witnesses, the child had been
killed in cold blood by the soldiers. The same day, the VI Brigade commander
demanded that copies of the witnesses' declarations be sent to the base. There
is serious concern for the safety of the parents of Gustavo Marroquín and Alvaro
Martínez Pinzón. On 20 March members of the Laureles Community Action Group,
Juntas de Acción Comunal and many other local people publicly denounced the
extrajudicial execution of Gustavo Marroquín and the army's subsequent conduct
to national authorities and to the media.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
In recent years widespread and systematic human rights violations have occurred
in Colombia. President César Gaviria Trujillo has repeatedly pledged his
government's commitment to protect human rights. However, members of the
Colombian armed and security forces continue to commit serious abuses with
virtual impunity. Civilians living in areas where guerrilla forces are active
are often perceived by the armed forces as potential guerrilla collaborators
and have, as a result, been subjected to extrajudicial execution and other
2
abuses. Often the army has attempted to disguise extrajudicial executions
as armed confrontation. 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:
- demanding an immediate and thorough investigation into the reported
extrajudicial execution of Gustavo Humberto Marroquín Iglesias (aged 8) on
11 March 1994 by soldiers from Infantry Battalion No. 18 "Jaime Rooke", Batallón
de Infantería No 18 "Jaime Rooke" attached to the VI Brigade, VI Brigada;
- urging that the results of the investigation be made public and that those
found responsible be brought to justice;
- expressing concern for Gustavo Marroquín's parents, Leonardo Marroquín
Vargas and Luz Myriam Iglesias and for journalist Alvaro Martínez Pinzón
following intimidatory action by the VI Brigade;
- urging that the authorities take all possible measures to protect their
lives and the lives of all members of the Laurel community;
APPEALS TO:
1) President of Colombia:
Señor Presidente César Gaviria Trujillo
Presidente de la República
Palacio de Nariño
Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: President Gaviria, Bogotá, Colombia
Telexes: 44281 PALP CO
Faxes: + 57 1 286 7434/287 7939
Salutation:Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente/Dear President Gaviria
2) Procurator General:
Dr. Carlos Gustavo Arrieta Padilla
Procurador General de la Nación
Procuraduría General
Edificio Banco Ganadero
Carrera 5, No. 15-80
Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: Procurador General Arrieta, Bogotá, Colombia
Faxes:+ 57 1 284 0472
Salutation:Sr. Procurador de la Nación/Dear Dr. Arrieta
3) Advocate for the People:
Dr. Jaime Córdoba Triviño
Defensor del Pueblo
Defensoría del Pueblo
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
4) Minister of Defence
Dr. Rafael Pardo Rueda
Ministro de Defensa Nacional
Ministerio de Defensa Nacional
3
Avenida Eldorado - Carrera 52
Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams:Ministro de Defensa Pardo Rueda, Bogota, Colombia
Telexes:42411 INPRE CO; 44561 CFAC CO
Fax:+ 57 1 222 1874
Salutation: Sr. Ministro/Dear Minister
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Andean Commission of Jurists
Comisión Andina de Juristas
AA 58533, 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 1 June 1994.

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