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UA 228/91 - Colombia: fear of "disappearance" / fear of extrajudicial execution: Benedicto Cubides, Eduardo Arias, Martin Alvarez

, Index number: AMR 23/036/1991

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 23/36/91
Distr: UA/SC
UA 228/91 Fear of "Disappearance"/Fear of Extrajudicial 4 July 1991
Execution
COLOMBIA: Benedicto CUBIDES, aged 44, peasant
Eduardo ARIAS, peasant
Martín ALVAREZ, peasant
Amnesty International is concerned for the safety of Benedicto Cubides, who
was detained by an army patrol on 20 June 1991 in the region of central Colombia
known as Magdalena Medio. Amnesty International is also concerned at the
killings of Eduardo Arias and Martín Alvarez in Puerto Wilches, also in Magdalena
Medio, on 21 June 1991 following their detention by members of the security
forces.
On 20 June 1991, peasants Benedicto Cubides and Nelly Sánchez were
reportedly detained by members of the Colombian army, accompanied by armed
civilians, in the rural area known as Bajo Simacota in the municipality of
Simacota, Santander department, in the Magdalena Medio. According to reports,
Nelly Sánchez was stripped naked, beaten and insulted by her captors before
being released shortly afterwards. Benedicto Cubides, who was seen being led
away hooded by soldiers, has not been seen since. The military authorities
have denied his arrest although an army patrol is said to have gone to his
home and told his wife not to expect him back. Formal complaints have been
presented to local and national authorities.
Benedicto Cubides is a member of the regional branch of the Asociación
Nacional de Usuarios Campesinos (ANUC), National Peasants' Association. He
had only recently returned to the region after having fled as a result of death
threats.
On 21 June 1991, peasants Eduardo Arias and Martín Alvarez were reportedly
detained at a military checkpoint on the outskirts of Puerto Wilches, Santander
department. Next day, soldiers took their bodies to a funeral parlour in
Barrancabermeja, alleging that they were guerrillas who had died in combat.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The largely rural area of Magdalena Medio has been the focus of political
violence for several years following the emergence of guerrilla groups in the
1960s and subsequent militarization of the region during the 1980s. Despite
some progress having been made in peace talks between several of the guerrilla
groups and the government, there has been a continuation of political violence.
In areas where guerrilla forces are active, 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 paramilitary
forces.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters:
- expressing concern at the possible "disappearance" of Benedicto Cubides
following his reported detention by army personnel and requesting an urgent
investigation into his whereabouts;
- urging that he be immediately brought before a competent court or released;
2
- urging that, while in detention, he be treated humanely and provided full
access to lawyers and relatives;
- expressing concern at the killings of Eduardo Arias and Martín Alvarez in
circumstances suggesting they may been the victims of extrajudicial execution;
- urging that there be an immediate and thorough inquiry into their deaths,
the results of which should be made public, and that those responsible be brought
to justice.
APPEALS TO:
President of the Republic:
Presidente César Gaviria Trujillo
(Salutation: Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente)
Presidente de la República
Palacio de Nariño
Bogotá D.E., Colombia
Telegrams: Presidente Gaviria, Bogota, Colombia
Telexes: 44281 PALP CO
Faxes: + 57 1 283 3066; + 57 1 287 7937;
+ 57 1 286 7324
Minister of Defence:
General Oscar Botero Restrepo
(Salutation: Sr. General)
Ministro de Defensa Nacional
Ministerio de Defensa Nacional
Avenida Eldorado - Carrera 52
Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: Ministro Defensa, Bogota, Colombia
Telexes: 42411 INPRE CO; 44561 CFAC CO
Faxes: + 57 1 222 1874
Coronel Héctor Manuel Bernal Caicedo
(Salutation: Sr. Coronel)
Comandante del Batallón "Nueva Granada"
Calle 12
Pueblo Nuevo
Barrancabermeja
Santander, Colombia
Telegrams: Comandante Batallón Nueva Granada
Pueblo Nuevo, Barrancabermeja, Colombia
Tte Coronel Jesús Guzmán Quintero
(Salutation: Sr. Tte. Coronel)
Comandante
Batallón de Infantería No. 40
"Coronel Luciano D'Elhuyer"
San Vicente de Chucurí
Santander, Colombia
Telegrams: Comandante Batallón "Luciano D'Elhuyer"
San Vicente de Chucurí, Colombia
COPIES TO:
Dr Gustavo Arrieta Padilla
(Salutation: Sr. Procurador General de la Nación)
Procurador General de la Nación
Procuraduría General
Edificio Banco Ganadero
Carrera 5, No. 15-80
Bogotá, Colombia
Señores
(Salutation: Señores)
CREDDHOS
AA 788
Barrancabermeja
Colombia (human rights group)
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 15 August 1991.

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