UA: 242/10 Index: AMR 23/035/2010 Colombia Date: 17 November 2010
DEMAND PROTECTION FOR HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER
William Cristancho Duarte, a human rights lawyer, was threatened in north
Colombia on the day of a preliminary hearing regarding the extrajudicial
execution of two peasant farmers, who had initially been presented as
guerrillas killed in combat, during a military operation. William Cristancho
Duarte’s life and the life of a witness are in danger.
William Cristancho Duarte, a human rights lawyer from Corporación Compromiso
was working on the cases of the extrajudicial executions of Julio César Cardozo Quiñónez
and José del Carmen Barbosa Patiño, two local peasant farmers who had been killed during
a military operation of the Battalion of Engineers Francisco José de Caldas (Batallón de Ingenieros Francisco José de
Caldas) on 19 October 2007 in the area of Chucuri-San Isidoro, Piedecuesta Municipality, Santander Department.
The two men had worked with William Cristancho Duarte, who occasionally provided protection and transport. Both
men were initially presented as guerrillas killed in combat.
On 26 October, William Cristancho was threatened soon after attending a hearing with local judicial officials in
Piedecuesta Municipality to discuss the case and the possible detention of members of the Battalion of Engineers
Francisco José de Caldas for their participation in the killings. A witness to the killings was also threatened. The
preliminary hearing was rescheduled to 18 November.
Several people observed and followed William Cristancho as he made his way to the hearing. After the meeting he
received a call on his mobile; a man said “What are you doing son-of-a-bitch lawyer, enemy of the army?” (Qué hace
abogado hijueputa enemigo del ejercito?). Some five minutes later, after leaving the building, about two blocks from
the main square, a man approached William Cristancho and said “Make way son-of-a-bitch defender of guerrillas we
are watching you closely” (Abrase hijueputa defensor de guerrilleros lo tenemos en la mira).
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Spanish or your own language:
Expressing concern for the security situation of William Cristancho Duarte and the witness, calling on the
authorities to ensure protection measures for William Cristancho Duarte and the witness as agreed with them
Urging the authorities to fully and impartially investigate the threats against those threatened and prosecute
Demanding commitment for the authorities to take decisive action to end extrajudicial executions and guarantee
the protection of those campaigning for justice in line with repeated United Nations human rights recommendations
Reminding the authorities to fulfil their obligations to ensure human rights defenders can carry out their work
without fear, as laid out in the 1998 UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 29 NOVEMBER 2010 TO:
Señor Presidente Juan Manuel Santos
Presidente de la República,
Palacio de Nariño,
Carrera 8 No.7-26,
Fax: +57 1 596 0631
Salutation: Dear President Santos/
Excmo. Sr. Presidente Santos
Minister of Interior and Justice
Señor Germán Vargas Lleras
Ministerio Del Interior y De Justicia
Carrera 9a. No. 14-10, Bogotá
Fax: +57 1 599 8961
Salutation: Dear Minister Vargas
/Estimado Sr. Ministro Vargas
And copies to:
Avenida González Valencia No 58-20
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives of Colombia accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals
after the above date.