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El Salvador: Human rights defender receives death threat: Hector Berríos

, Index number: AMR 29/001/2011

Hector Berríos, a community activist and human rights lawyer in Cabañas, a department of El Salvador, received death threats by phone on 23 January. Amnesty International believes he is being targeted for his human rights work, and is at risk.

UA: 13/11 Index: AMR 29/001/2011 El Salvador Date: 25 January 2011
URGENT ACTION
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER RECEIVES DEATH THREAT
Hector Berríos, a community activist and human rights lawyer in Cabañas, a department of El
Salvador, received death threats by phone on 23 January. Amnesty International believes he is
being targeted for his human rights work, and is at risk.
On 23 January, at 12.20 pm Hector Berríos received a phone call on his landline from an unknown man who
claimed to be a friend, and asked where Hector was. Around a minute later, the same person called Hector Berríos’
mobile phone, saying that they had been paid a lot of money to kill him, or a member of his family “Nos han pagado
mucho dinero para asesinarte…ya sea a vos o a uno de tu familia”. The man continued by saying “We have been
watching you in San Isidro and Mejicanos, we have got you close, look, we know you work for the people” (“…Te
hemos estado observando en San Isidro y Mejicanos, te tenemos cerca, mira sabemos que trabajas para la
gente…”). The caller made an offer to Hector Berríos: if Hector withdrew from his work, they would not kill him. At
this point Hector Berríos put the phone down.
The previous day, on 22 January, starting at 10.00 pm Hector Berríos received ten anonymous phone calls. He has
not received further calls.
Hector Berríos' activism in his community has resulted in threats and intimidation before, due to his campaigns
against mining, impunity and his legal defence of human rights activists. Hector Berríos has received threats on
previous occasions. On 7 October 2009, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) ruled that El
Salvador should provide protection to Hector Berríos. However, despite the demands from the IACHR, Hector Berríos
has not yet received appropriate protection, and remains at risk.
PLEASE WRITE IMMEDIATELY in Spanish or your own language:
Urging that the authorities take immediate steps to fully comply with the IACHR order of 7 October 2009. The
form of protection provided to Hector Berríos must be agreed with him and reflect his own wishes
Calling for an independent, thorough and impartial investigation into the threats against Hector Berríos, with the
results made public and those responsible brought to justice
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 9 MARCH 2011 TO:
Attorney General
Romeo Benjamín Barahona Meléndez
Fiscal General de la República
Fiscalía General de la República
Final 4ª Calle Oriente y 19ª Avenida
Sur, Residencial Primavera,
Santa Tecla, La Libertad, San Salvador,
Salvador
Fax: +503 2523 7409
Salutation: Estimado Sr.
Fiscal/Dear Attorney General
Human Rights Director, Ministry of
Foreign Affairs
David Morales
Director General de Derechos Humanos
Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores de
El Salvador - Calle El Pedregal, Blvd.
Cancillería. Ciudad Merliot, Antiguo
Cuscatlan El Salvador
Fax: +503 2231 1152
Salutation: Estimado Director/ Dear
Director
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please check with your section office if sending appeals after the above
date.
Date: 25 January 2011
URGENT ACTION
HUMAN RIGHTS DEFENDER RECEIVES DEATH THREAT
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
Amnesty International has issued various urgent actions on the situation of human rights defenders in the Cabañas department of El Salvador in 2009 and 2010.
(UA: 223/09 Index: AMR 29/001/2009 Issue Date: 27 August 2009).
Gustavo Marcelo Rivera, an environmental activist,was killed on 30 June 2009. Later on that year, his brother Ramiro Rivera, a community leader who
campaigned against mining in the area and against impunity in his brother’s case, survived an armed attack in August and was eventually killed in December.
Also in August 2009, Héctor Antonio Garcia Berríos was warned by a man he knew that if he and Gustavo Marcelo Rivera's brother, Miguel Rivera continued
campaigning for justice for the murder, their lives would be at risk. (UA: 223/09 Index: AMR 29/001/2009 Issue Date: 27 August 2009).
On 26 December 2009, another member of the Cabañas Environment Committee was killed. Dora Alicia Recinos Sorto, who was eight months pregnant, was shot
dead, and her two-year-old child was wounded. (Amnesty International Urgent Action Further information on UA: 223/09 Index: AMR 29//001/2010 Issue Date: 4
January 2010).
UA: 13/11 Index: AMR 29/001/2011 Issue Date: 25 January 2011

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