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UA 363/91 - Colombia: fear of extrajudicial execution / death threats: Juan Alberto Garay, David Florez Gonzalez, Jose Angel Lasso Sierra, Urbano Barreto Arenas, Enrique Pertuz

, Index number: AMR 23/063/1991

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 23/63/91
Distr: UA/SC
UA 363/91 Fear of Extrajudicial Execution/Death Threats 30 October 1991
COLOMBIA Juan Alberto GARAY teacher - killed
David FLOREZ GONZALEZ teacher - death threats
José Angel LASSO SIERRA teacher "
Urbano BARRETO ARENAS teacher "
Enrique PERTUZ teacher "
Amnesty International has learned with concern of the possible extrajudicial execution
of teacher Juan Alberto Garay and of death threats against four other teachers in Colombia.
According to reports, the body of teacher Juan Alberto Garay was found early in the morning
of 24 October 1991 in the municipality of Belén de Umbría, Risaralda department. His hands
were bound and his body showed signs of torture and gunshot wounds. He was last seen alive
on 20 October when, according to eye-witnesses, he was taken, bound, from the community
of Alegrías, Quinchía municipality by five unidentified individuals. Juan Alberto Garay
was a Chilean who had taken Colombian nationality and had worked in Risaralda department
since 1977. He was working as a teacher at the school "Colegio de Nuestra Señora de los
Dolores" in Quichía. Before he was killed he had reportedly received death threats.
Amnesty International is concerned for the physical safety of the four above-named teachers,
who have all recently received threats to their lives. According to sources, on 17 October,
at approximately 8 am, an envelope was pushed under the door of the headquarters of the
teachers' union of Santander department, Sindicato de Educadores de Santander (SES), in
Bucaramanga, containing death threats against the union's General Secretary, David Flórez
González and other members of the SES.
In the department of Arauca death threats in the form of sufragios, invitations to their
own funeral mass, have reportedly been received by several teachers, including José Angel
Lasso Sierra, President of the Arauca Teachers Association, Asociación de Educadores del
Arauca, ASEDAR, union official Urbano Barreto Arenas and treasurer Enrique Pertuz. A sufragio
was also reportedly received by the rector of the Rafael Pombo secondary school, Colegio
de Bachillerato Rafael Pombo in the town of Saravena, Arauca.
The government of president César Gaviria Trujillo has repeatedly pledged to protect human
rights. In his inaugural address in August 1990 President Gaviria said that "the public
opinion's trust and credibility in the armed forces depend on the armed forces' acting
according to the constitution. The armed forces must respect human rights because the
country's defence also means upholding the law". However, despite the government's
commitment to uphold respect for human rights, members of the Colombian armed and security
forces and paramilitary forces working under their control, or with their acquiescence,
have continued to commit serious abuses, including torture, extrajudicial execution and
"disappearance". Members of the teaching profession have increasingly been among the
victims of such abuses. According to the national teachers' union Federación Colombiana
de Educadores, (FECODE), 47 teachers have been killed since the beginning of 1991 and more
than 400 have received threats to their lives.
Page 2 of UA 363/91
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters:
- expressing concern at the killing of Juan Alberto Garay;
- urging that there be an immediate and thorough investigation into his death, the results
of which should be made public and those responsible brought to justice;
- expressing concern for the safety of David Flórez González, José Angel Lasso Sierra,
Urbano Barreto Arenas and Enrique Pertuz, following the receipt of threats to their lives;
- urging that there be an immediate investigation into the death threats made against
them in order to identify those responsible and bring them to justice;
- urging that the Colombian authorities take all possible measures to protect the lives
of teachers and those working for teaching unions to ensure that they can carry out their
legal activities without threat to their physical integrity.
1) President of the Republic:
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 or + 57 1 287 7937
2) Minister of Defence:
Dr. Rafael Pardo Rueda Sr. Ministro
Ministro de Defensa Nacional
Ministerio de Defensa Nacional
Avenida Eldorado - Carrera 52
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: Ministro Defensa, Bogota, Colombia
Telexes: 42411 INPRE CO or 44561 CFAC CO
Faxes: +57 1 222 1874
3) Procurator General:
Dr. Carlos Gustavo Arrieta Padilla Sr. Procurador General 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
4) Advocate for the People:
Dr. Jaime Córdoba Triviño Sr. Defensor del Pueblo
Defensor del Pueblo
Procuraduría General
Edificio Banco Ganadero
Carrera 5, No. 15-80
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrama: Defensor del Pueblo Trivino, c/o Procuraduria General, Santa Fe
de Bogota, Colombia
Telexes: 41224 PRGEN CO or 41213 PGNDP CO
Faxes: + 57 1 284 0472
AA 14373
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
CUT (Trades Union Confederation)
Calle 35, Nº 725 - Piso 9º
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
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 11 December 1991.

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