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UA 323/91 - Colombia: Fear of torture / "disappearance": Armando Cardenas, Omar Duque

, Index number: AMR 23/054/1991

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 23/54/91
Distr: UA/SC
UA 323/91 Fear of Torture/"Disappearance" 2 October 1991
Amnesty International is concerned for the physical safety of Armando Cárdenas,
who has not been seen since 28 September 1991 and Omar Duque, who has not been
seen since 17 September 1991.
According to reports, Armando Cárdenas was detained on 28 September on
a farm in the municipality of Simocata, Santander department, by an army patrol
accompanied by some civilians, recognized by members of the local community
as members of a paramilitary group whose centre of operations is San Juan Bosco
de la Verde, Simacota. The same patrol who reportedly detained Armando Cárdenas
were seen in the region later in the day, but he was no longer with them and
his whereabouts remain unknown. Since 10 September the army's
counter-insurgency battalion No. 14 "Palagua", Batallón de Contrainsurgencia
No. 14 "Palagua" has been carrying out military operations in the area.
For the last six years Armando Cárdenas had been receiving threats to
his life from members of the armed forces and paramilitary groups, and had
been warned to leave the region. Three members of his family have been killed
or "disappeared" - his son Ramiro, aged 16, was killed on 4 June 1987, his
son-in-law Gilberto Contreras "disappeared" on 15 January 1989 and his son
José Alfredo, aged 28, was killed on 14 January 1991.
Omar Duque was last seen on 17 September when he too was reportedly
detained by an army patrol whilst working on a farm in Puerto Argilio, Simacota,
during military operations carried out by the "Palagua" battalion. His
whereabouts remain unknown. Amnesty International is very concerned for the
safety of both men.
The largely rural area of the Magdalena Medio, where Simacota is situated,
has been a 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 the progress that has been made through 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 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 paramiltary forces.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters:
- expressing concern at the possible "disappearance" of Armando Cárdenas and
Omar Duque, following their reported detention by members of the Colombian
armed forces;
- urging that there be an immediate and effective investigation to establish
their whereabouts;
- urging that if in detention, their legal situation be clarified and they
be immediately released unless charged with a recognizably criminal offence
and that they be allowed access to a lawyer and relatives;
- urging that they be humanely treated whilst in detention.
President of the Republic:
Señor Presidente César Gaviria Trujillo Excelentísimo
Presidente de la República Sr. Presidente
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
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; 44561 CFAC CO
Faxes: +57 1 222 1874
Procurator General:
Dr. Carlos Gustavo Arrieta Padilla Sr. Procurador Gral
Procurador General de la Nación 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
AA 25916
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
Justicia y Paz
AA 52332
Santa Fe de Bogotá
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 13 November 1991.

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