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UA 344/91 - Colombia: fear of "disappearance" / torture: Argemiro Quiroga

, Index number: AMR 23/060/1991

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 23/60/91
Distr: UA/SC
UA 344/91 Fear of "Disappearance"/Torture 17 October 1991
COLOMBIA Argemiro Quiroga, aged 36
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of Argemiro Quiroga, who
was last seen on 7 October 1991, when he was reportedly detained in Santa Fe
de Bogotá by agents of National Police Intelligence, SIJIN, (Sección de Policía
Judicial e Investigación).
Eye-witnesses report that Argemiro Quiroga was detained at about 11.30 am by
two young men wearing civilian clothing, who identified themselves as SIJIN
agents, as he arrived at his home in the El Socorro district of Santa Fe de
Bogotá. He was allowed to make a brief visit to a nearby shop, where he left
his house keys and his brother's telephone number, reportedly saying that he
was being taken to the SIJIN base and that his relatives should go there to
find him later. He was then forced to climb into a vehicle waiting in a nearby
street where two other men, apparently detainees, were already being held.
The efforts of Argemiro Quiroga's friends and family to locate him have proved
fruitless; his detention has not been acknowledged by any of the state security
forces and his whereabouts remain unknown.
Argemiro Quiroga has lived in Santa Fe de Bogotá for two years, working as
a street salesman. He had reportedly had previous links with the armed opposition
group Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia, (FARC), Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia, but had ceased his involvement about two years ago.
In recent years Amnesty International has received an increasing number of
reports of human rights violations in Colombia, including "disappearance".
Principal targets have been people associated with trade unions, civic and
community movements and legal left-wing parties as well as alleged members
of or sympathisers with armed opposition groups. Amnesty International is not
always in a position to establish responsibility for each individual
"disappearance", as perpetrators are often not fully identified. However, on
the basis of available evidence, the organization concludes that many such
abuses are carried out by members of the Colombian security forces or civilians
working under their command.
In September 1991 the Procurator General's office produced an official report
which stated that more than 2,300 complaints had been lodged against the army
and police in the last two years for human rights violations. President César
Gaviria Trujillo, on presenting the report, stated:
"No puede el Gobierno desconocer la gravedad de las acusaciones que se
hacen en forma reiterada y masiva contra sus agentes, ni ignorar
hasta que punto reina la impunidad por violación de derechos
"The government cannot fail to recognise the seriousness of the accusations
made constantly and on a massive scale against its agents, nor ignore the extent
of impunity in cases of human rights violations".
page 2 of UA 344/91
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters:
- expressing concern at the possible "disappearance" of Argemiro Quiroga,
following his alleged detention by agents of the SIJIN and requesting an
immediate and effective investigation to establish his whereabouts;
- urging that if detained he be brought before a competent court or released;
- urging that whilst in detention he be humanely treated and provided with
full access to lawyers and relatives.
Señor Presidente César Gaviria Trujillo Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente
Presidente de la República
Palacio de Nariño
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: Presidente Gaviria, Bogota, Colombia
Telexes: 44281 PALP CO
Faxes: + 57 1 283 3066
+ 57 1 286 7324
+ 57 1 287 7937
Dr. Carlos Gustavo Arrieta Padilla Sr Procurador de la Nación
Procurador General de la Nación
Procuraduría General
Edificio Banco Ganadero
Carrera 5, No. 15-80
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: Procurador General Arrieta, Bogota, Colombia
Telexes: 41224 PRGEN CO or 41213 PGNDP CO
Faxes: + 57 1 284 0472
Coronel Luís Enrique Montenegro Rico Sr Coronel
Dirección de Policía Judicial e Investigación (DIJIN)
Carrera 15, No. 10-41
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: Comandante DIJIN, Carrera 15, Bogota, Colombia
Mayor General Miguel Antonio Gómez Padilla Sr Mayor General
Director General de la Policía Nacional
Tr. 45, No. 40-11
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: Dir-Gen Policia Nacional, Bogota, Colombia
Comisión Intercongresional de Justicia y Paz
AA 52332
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia (Intercongressional Commission for
Justice and Peace)
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 28 November 1991.

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