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Colombia: Fear for Safety

, Index number: AMR 23/040/2000

Journalist Jineth Bedoya was abducted and tortured by paramilitaries, who told her repeatedly of a lista negra, death list, of journalists they had sentenced to death, including her and four of her colleagues. Amnesty International is concerned that those responsible may be planning a campaign of terror against other journalists.

PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 23/40/00
UA 141/00 Fear for Safety 31 May 2000
COLOMBIAJineth BEDOYA LIMA (f)]Journalists for Colombian
Ignacio GOMEZ GOMEZ ]newspaper El Espectador
Three other journalists
Journalist Jineth Bedoya was abducted and tortured by paramilitaries, who told
her repeatedly of a lista negra, death list, of journalists they had sentenced
to death, including her and four of her colleagues. People named on such death
lists are frequently attacked in Colombia, and Amnesty International is
concerned that those responsible may be planning a campaign of terror against
other journalists.
On the evening of 24 May a man telephoned Jineth Bedoya claiming to represent
imprisoned paramilitaries who wanted to meet with her. The following day she
went to meet the man at the La Modelo prison in the capital, Bogotá. As she
waited for an entry ticket a man approached her, who asked her who she was
and then at gunpoint took her to a nearby house where she was gagged, bound,
beaten, psychologically and physically tortured and physically ill-treated.
The men beat her as they took her in a car to the outskirts of the city of
Villavicencio, three hours’ drive from Bogotá, and abandoned her there some
10 hours after she had been abducted.
As a legal affairs reporter for the newspaper El Espectador, Jineth Bedoya
had covered a 27 April riot involving paramilitary prisoners at the La Modelo
prison, in which some two dozen people were killed. Paramilitaries objected
to her coverage of the gun battle, and sent death threats attached to copies
of her articles to the offices of El Espectador.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
Two hundred journalists have been assassinated in the Americas since 1988,
89 of them in Colombia, according to the Sociedad Interamericana de Prensa
(SIP), Inter-American Press Society.
More than 30,000 civilians have died in the last 10 years, as the conflict
between the Colombian armed forces and their paramilitary allies and left-wing
armed opposition groups has intensified. In 1998 Andrés Pastrana’s government
began peace negotiations with the two major armed opposition groups, but the
violence has continued to escalate.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send faxes/express/airmail letters in Spanish or
your own language:
- expressing grave concern that Jineth Bedoya Lima, Ignacio Gomez Gomez and
three other journalists are reportedly named on a death list;
- urging the government to take immediate steps to guarantee their safety;
- calling for an immediate investigation into the death threats, for the results
to be made public and those responsible to be brought to justice;
- deploring the apparent abduction by paramilitaries of reporter Jineth Bedoya
and calling for a full, prompt and impartial investigation, for the results
to be made public and for all those responsible to be brought to justice.
APPEALS TO:
President of Colombia:
Señor Presidente Andrés Pastrana, Presidente de la República
Palacio de Nariño, Carrera 8 No. 7-26, Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
2
Telegrams: President Pastrana, Bogotá, Colombia
Telex: 44281 PALP CO
Fax: + 57 1 286 7434/ 284 2186/ 337 1351
Salutation:Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente/Dear President Pastrana
Minister of the Interior
Dr. Humberto de la Calle, Ministro del Interior
Ministerio del Interior, Carrera 8, No.8-09, Piso 2
Santafé de Bogotá, COLOMBIA
Telegrams: Ministerio del Interior, Bogotá, Colombia
Telexes:45406 MINGO CO
Fax:+ 57 1 286 8025 / 281 5884 / 342 3201
Salutation:Sr. Ministro/Dear Minister
Attorney General
Dr. Alfonso Gómez Méndez,
Fiscal General de la Nación, Fiscalía General de la Nación,
Diagonal 22B 5201,Apartado Aéreo 29855, Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams:Fiscal General, Fiscalía General, Bogotá, Colombia
Faxes:+ 571 570 2022 (If the call is answered, say “Fax, por favor” and wait
for the signal.)
Salutation: Estimado Dr./Dear Dr. Gómez
COPIES TO:
Newspaper
El Espectador
Avenida 68 N 23-71
Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Faxes: + 57 1 260 23 23
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 July 2000.

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