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Colombia: Further information on threats / fear for safety and new concerns: fear of torture / possible "disappearances" / possible extrajudicial execution: Pedro Leon, Carlos Ramirez, Moises Garcia, Alba Luz Balderrama, Rafael Jimenez Moreno

, N° d'index: AMR 23/048/1995

There is further concern for the safety of peasant farmers and their leaders participating in a strike action in Ibague, department of Tolima. Carlos Ramirez was reportedly last seen in Ibague on 7 August surrounded by members of the security forces. On 8 August some 800 peasant farmers staged a sit-down protest after they were prevented from travelling from Planadas to Ibague. The army responded by firing tear-gas at and beating the protestors. Pedro Leon, president of the Communal Action Council, and 68-year-old Moises Garcia were seen being beaten, but their whereabouts are now unknown. Rafael Jimenez Moreno was beaten until he was unconscious and was subsequently detained. Alba Luz Balderrama is reported to have been thrown off a bridge and has not been seen since. Fears have been increased for the peasants' safety after leaflets were reportedly distributed describing the strike leaders as subversives.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AMR 23/48/95
14 August 1995
Further information on UA 182/95 (AMR 23/42/95, 27 July 1995) - Threats / Fear
for Safety and new concerns: Fear of Torture / Possible "Disappearances" /
Possible Extrajudicial Execution
COLOMBIAPedro LEÓN, peasant farmer leader
Carlos RAMÍREZ, peasant farmer
Moisés GARCÍA, aged 68, peasant farmer
Alba Luz BALDERRAMA (f)
Rafael JIMÉNEZ MORENO
Fears for the safety of peasant farmers and their leaders participating in
a strike action in Ibagué, department of Tolima, have been heightened by reports
of the "disappearance" of three men and the possible extrajudicial execution
of a woman involved in the protests.
Carlos Ramírez, from the village of El Líbano, department of Tolima, was
reportedly last seen, in Ibagué, on 7 August 1995, surrounded by members of
the security forces.
On 8 August, some 800 peasant farmers were travelling from Planadas, department
of Tolima, to Ibagué to participate in the demonstrations, when their convoy
was stopped by army and police personnel at about 11am near the community of
Castilla, department of Tolima. The farmers were told that they could not
proceed because "en El Espinal y Saldaña la guerrilla está matando campesinos"
("in El Espinal and Saldaña the guerrillas are killing peasant farmers").
The farmers protested by sitting in the road and demanding to speak to the
department's governor.
The army responded by firing tear-gas and beating people, including minors.
Witnesses saw Pedro León, president of the Junta de Acción Comunal, Communal
Action Council, of the municipality of Planadas, being beaten. He has not
been seen since. 68-year-old Moisés García was also reportedly beaten, since
which time his whereabouts have also remained unknown. Rafael Jiménez Moreno
was beaten with a rifle until he was unconscious, and he was subsequently
detained. He is reportedly in detention in the municipality of Purificación,
department of Tolima.
Alba Luz Balderrama, who reportedly fainted as a result of the tear-gas, was
on the Castilla bridge when a peasant farmer came to her aid. According to
witnesses, the farmer was attacked by members of the police and Alba Luz
Balderrama was thrown off the bridge. Her whereabouts are unknown and there
is serious concern for her safety.
Fears for peasant leaders and those involved in the strike action have been
still further increased by the publication of leaflets, reportedly distributed
by members of the security forces in recent days, which accuse the strike leaders
of being subversives. The leaflets reportedly give the telephone numbers for
the police and the army. It has also been reported that members of the security
forces have labelled the peasant farmers involved in the strike action as
subversives in radio broadcasts and in newspapers. In the past people labelled
as being guerrillas or guerrilla sympathizers have faced death threats and
other human rights violations.
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FURTHER RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/
airmail letters in Spanish or in your own language:
- expressing concern for the safety of Carlos Ramírez, Pedro León and Moisés
García, all of whom were reportedly beaten and harassed by members of the
security forces before their "disappearance";
- expressing concern for the safety of Alba Luz Balderrama, reportedly the
victim of an attempted extrajudicial execution;
- calling for an immediate investigation into the whereabouts of those
"disappeared" and the attempt to kill Alba Luz Balderrama, the results of which
should be made public and those found responsible for any abuses against them
be brought to justice;
- urging that, if they are in detention, they be humanely treated, allowed
access to lawyers and to their families and that they be released unless charged
with a recognized criminal offence;
- urging that all possible measures be taken to protect the physical integrity
of the peasant leaders and other strikers and seeking guarantees of the safety
of all those detained in relation with the strike action, including Rafael
Jiménez Moreno.
APPEALS TO
1) President of Colombia:
Señor Presidente Ernesto Samper Pizano
Presidente de la República
Palacio de Nariño
Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: President Samper Pizano, Bogotá, Colombia
Telexes: 44281 PALP CO
Faxes: + 57 1 289 3377/286 7434
Salutation:Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente/Dear President Samper
2) Advocate for the People:
Dr. Jaime Córdoba Triviño
Defensor del Pueblo
Defensoría del Pueblo
Calle 35 No. 7-25 piso 5
Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams:Defensor del Pueblo Trivino, Defensoria del Pueblo,
Bogota, Colombia
Faxes:+ 57 1 346 1225/285 6908
Salutation: Estimado Dr Triviño/Dear Dr. Triviño
3) Mayor of Ibagué
Dr. Alvaro Ramírez
Ibagué, Tolima
Colombia
Faxes: + 57 82 619199 (if voice, ask for fax)
4)Governor of Tolima
Dr. Jaime Pardo
(address unknown)
Faxes: + 57 82 610882
COPIES TO:
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Alternative Legal Association
MINGA, AA 40303, Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
and to diplomatic representatives of Colombia accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 2 October 1995.

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