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Further information on UA 265/94 (AMR 23/56/94, 13 July) - Colombia: "disappearance" and new concern: fear for safety: Luis Alirio Rodriguez Pineda, and new name: Celina Franco

, Index number: AMR 23/059/1994

The whereabouts of Luis Alirio Rodriguez Pineda remain unknown and there is continued fear for his safety and that of his wife Celina Franco, who was threatened at the time of his detention and who is now afraid to return to their home in San Pablo. Initial inquiries into his "disappearance" by the Colombian Presidential Adviser on Human Rights and by the Regional People's Advocate confirmed that a unit of the army's anti-kidnap force, UNASE, had been in the area at the time. Eye-witnesses have reported that the UNASE unit detained Luis Alirio Rodriguez. The major in charge of the unit has denied this and claims that he was released after questioning. On 28 July a petition of habeas corpus was placed in Barranquilla, the results of which are not yet known.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 23/59/94
Distr: UA/SC
5 August 1994
Further information on UA 265/94 (AMR 23/56/94, 13 July 1994) - "Disappearance"
and new concern: Fear for Safety
COLOMBIA Luís Alirio RODRIGUEZ PINEDA, aged 29, peasant farmer
new name: Celina FRANCO, Luis Alirio Rodríguez's wife
The whereabouts of Luis Alirio Rodríguez Pineda remain unknown and Amnesty
International continues to fear for his safety and the safety of Celina Franco,
who was threatened at the time of her husband's detention and is now afraid
to return to their home in San Pablo, Teorama municipality, Norte de Santander
department.
Preliminary inquiries by the office of the Colombian Presidential Adviser on
Human Rights, Consejería Presidencial para los derechos humanos and by the
Regional People's Advocate, Defensor del Pueblo Regional, based in
Barranquilla, Atlántico department, confirm that a unit of the army's
anti-kidnap force, UNASE, arrived at San Pablo early on 13 June 1994 to
investigate a kidnapping. Representatives of the unit stated that another
man, Luis Arenas, detained in Barranquilla, had said that Luis Alirio Rodríguez
had information about the kidnapping. However, the major in charge of the
unit, which is attached to the army's Second Brigade, Segunda Brigada said
that although they took Luis Alirio Rodríguez from his home and interrogated
him, they did not detain him, but released him "some time later" ("un tiempo
después"), having ascertained that he knew nothing about the alleged kidnapping.
Eye-witnesses claim that the UNASE unit took Luis Alirio Rodríguez away in
one of their two vehicles, stopping in El Tarra for breakfast, where he was
reportedly seen tied up in the back of one of the vehicles. Celina Franco
stated that she also saw him in the vehicle as the UNASE unit passed back through
San Pablo at about 10.30am on its way to Barranquilla. Another eye-witness
claims that he, Luis Alirio Rodríguez and Luis Arenas were tortured in the
base of the Second Brigade in Barranquilla. Luis Arenas was later taken to
Barranquilla prison and charged with the offence of kidnapping.
On 28 July a petition of habeas corpus for Luis Alirio Rodríguez was placed
in Barranquilla, any results of which are as yet unknown.
Amnesty International is concerned that UNASE's statement to officials that
Luis Alirio was released after questioning does not concur with evidence of
witnesses and urges that further and more thorough investigations be undertaken
to establish his whereabouts.
FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and
airmail letters:
- reiterating concern that the whereabouts of Luis Alirio Rodríguez remain
unknown, following the statement by the major in charge of the UNASE unit
alleging that he was released after questioning, a statement which is in direct
conflict with eye-witness testimony that he was detained, taken to Barranquilla
and tortured by members of the armed forces;
- urging that all possible measures be taken to protect his wife, Celina Franco,
so that she can return to her home without fear of reprisal;
- urging that further and thorough investigations be conducted into the reported
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detention, torture and "disappearance" of Luis Alirio Rodríguez, specifically
to clarify the UNASE statement that he was released after questioning. The
results of these investigations should be made public;
- continuing to urge that if he is detention, he be humanely treated, allowed
access to a lawyer and relatives and released unless charged with a criminal
offence;
- continuing to express dismay and concern at outgoing President César Gaviria's
rejection on 7 July 1994 of the draft law against "disappearances", particularly
in the context of Congress' approval of the draft text and the government's
avowed commitment to human rights.
APPEALS TO:
1) President of Colombia:
Señor Presidente Ernesto Samper Pizano
Presidente de la República
Palacio de Nariño
Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: President Samper, Bogotá, Colombia
Telexes: 44281 PALP CO
Faxes: + 57 1 286 7434/287 7939
Salutation:Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente/Dear President Samper
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) Minister of Defence
Dr. Fernando Botero
Ministro de Defensa Nacional
Ministerio de Defensa Nacional
Avenida Eldorado - Carrera 52
Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams:Ministro de Defensa Botero, Bogota, Colombia
Telexes:42411 INPRE CO; 44561 CFAC CO
Faxes:+ 57 1 222 1874
Salutation: Sr. Ministro/Dear Minister
COPIES OF YOUR APPEALS TO:
Assocation working for relatives of the "disappeared"
ASFADDES
AA 011446
Santafé de Bogotá
COLOMBIA
and to diplomatic representatives of Colombia accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
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or your section office, if sending appeals after 16 September 1994.

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