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UA 367/89 - Colombia: torture / arbitrary arrest: Gabriel Florez

, Index number: AMR 23/041/1990

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 23/41/90
Distr: UA/SC
UA 367/90 Torture/Arbitrary Arrest 14 September 1990
Amnesty International is concerned about reports of the detention and ill-treatment
of peasant leader Gabriel Florez during army counter insurgency operations. There
is further concern that since his release from custody, Gabriel Flórez' freedom
of movement has been restricted.
Gabriel Flórez, a regional leader of the Colombian National Peasants' Association,
Asociación Nacional de Usuarios Campesinos, was detained on 8 September 1990 by
members of an army patrol in the community of Montebello, municipality of Betulia,
Santander department. On 6 September the region of Montebello was reportedly
subjected to aerial bombardments as part of the Colombian armed forces' offensive
against guerrilla groups believed to be operating in the area. Gabriel Flórez was
held by the army for three days, during which time reports indicate that he was
severely tortured. Although he was released from custody on the 10 September, the
army is reportedly not allowing him to leave the community of Montebello - which
is still under army control - to return to his home in San Vicente de Chucuri,
Santander department.
In recent months Amnesty International has received an increasing number of reports
of human rights violations against non-combatant civilians in the context of armed
forces counter-insurgency operations in rural areas of the country. During army
offensives against guerrilla positions the local civilian population is often
perceived by the armed forces as potential guerrilla collaborators and has, as a
result, been subjected to arbitrary arrest, torture, "disappearance" and
extrajudicial execution by army personnel and civilians working with them. Members
of left-wing opposition parties, community and peasant leaders appear to have been
particularly targetted.
RECOMMENDED ACTION:Telegrams/Telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters:
- expressing concern at the reported arbitrary detention and ill- treatment of
Gabriel Flórez by Colombian army personnel;
- requesting a full and impartial investigation into the ill- treatment to which
Gabriel Flórez was reportedly subjected while in the custody of army personnel;
- requesting that restrictions on his freedom of movement be lifted and that he
be given adequate medical attention if required.
President César Gaviria Trujillo Telegrams: Presidente Gaviria,
Presidente de la República Bogotá, Colombia
Palacio de Nariño Telex: 44281 PALP CO
Bogotá, Colombia Fax: + 57 1 283 3066
Brig-Gen Harold Bedoya
IV Brigada Telegrams: Comandante IV
Medellín Brigada, Medellín,
Antioquia, Colombia Antioquia, Colombia
General Oscar Botero Telegrams: Ministro Defensa,
Ministro de Defensa Nacional Bogotá, Colombia
Ministerio de Defensa Nacional Telex: 42411 INPRE CO;
Avenida Eldorado - Carrera 52 44561 CFAC CO
Bogotá, Colombia Fax: + 57 1 222 1874
Dr Alfonso Gómez Méndez Telegrams: Procurador General
Procurador General de la Nación Gomez, Bogotá, Colombia
Edificio Banco Ganadero Telex: 41224 PRGEN CO;
Carrera 5, No. 15-80 41213 PGNDP CO
Bogotá, Colombia Fax: + 57 1 284 0472
AA 25916
Bogotá, Colombia (human rights organization)
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 26 October 1990.

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