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Colombia: Fear for safety

, N° d'index: AMR 23/061/1999

Alfredo Molano, Alejandro Reyes Posada, Patricia Lara, Arturo Alape, Fabricio López, Aliro Uribe, Javier Giraldo, Gabriel Izquierdo, Héctor Mondragón, Hernando Hernández, Jaime Caycedo, Pablo Elías González, Alvaro Leyva Durán, Omar García, Libardo Ramces Pinilla Rueda, Jose Galvis, Nolasco Presiga, Gregorio Oviedo Oviedo, Gilberto Medina and Alfredo Colmenares Chia and Jairo Enrique Rojas Pulido. Amnesty International is gravely concerned for the safety of those named above, whose names are on a lista negra, blacklist, circulated in central Bogotá on 23 August 1999. In the present human rights crisis in Colombia, such lists are public death threats and have frequently been followed by attacks on those named.

PUBLIC AI Index: AMR 23/61/99
UA 221/99 Fear for safety 26 August 1999
COLOMBIAAlfredo Molano, Alejandro Reyes Posada, Patricia Lara, Arturo Alape,
Fabricio López - journalists
Aliro Uribe, Javier Giraldo, Gabriel Izquierdo, Héctor Mondragón - human
rights defenders
Hernando Hernández - trade union leader
Jaime Caycedo - president of Communist party
Pablo Elías González - Head of human rights unit of Attorney General’s Office
Alvaro Leyva Durán, Omar García, Libardo Ramces Pinilla Rueda, Jose Galvis,
Nolasco Presiga, Gregorio Oviedo Oviedo, Gilberto Medina and
Alfredo Colmenares Chia and Jairo Enrique Rojas Pulido
Amnesty International is gravely concerned for the safety of those named above,
whose names are on a lista negra, blacklist, circulated in central Bogotá on
23 August 1999. In the present human rights crisis in Colombia, such lists
are public death threats and have frequently been followed by attacks on those
named.
The people listed include politicians, journalists, writers, human rights
defenders and a senior official with the Attorney General’s Office. The majority
have been active in recent months in trying to break the deadlock in the peace
process between the Colombian government and the two main armed opposition
groups. The list accuses them of worsening Colombia’s armed conflict and of
inciting hatred. It was signed by the Ejército Rebelde Colombiano, Rebel Army
of Colombia. Some of those named on the list have already left the country
after previous death threats.
On 13 August the nationally renowned satirist and journalist, Jaime Garzón,
was gunned down on his way to work. He had recently joined a special commission
whose task was to mediate between the government and the armed opposition group,
Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN), National Liberation Army, in restarting
peace talks. In the days before his death he had received a number of death
threats accusing him of collaborating with the armed opposition. His killing
caused national outrage and has led to widespread allegations that hardline
elements within the military, particularly army intelligence, were involved
in the murder and are intent on destroying the peace process. The army has
denied any involvement.
Amnesty International is concerned that those responsible for the death of
Jaime Garzón may be intending to carry out a campaign of terror against anyone
associated with the peace process.
BACKGROUND INFORMATION
The spiralling conflict between the Colombian Armed Forces and their
paramilitary allies and left-wing armed opposition groups has claimed the lives
of over 30,000 civilians in the last 10 years. In 1998 Andrés Pastrana’s
government began peace processes with the two major armed opposition groups.
However, in recent months these talks have stalled and violence continues to
escalate alarmingly. The killing of Jaime Garzón and the appearance of the
new lista negra appear to be part of a strategy of terror intended to frustrate
efforts to restart the peace process.
There have been a number of high profile extrajudicial executions in recent
years in which members of the armed forces, particularly army intelligence,
have been implicated. Although some steps have been taken over the years to
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purge military officials linked to paramilitary groups, there is still concern
that hardline elements remain within or close to the armed forces.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send faxes/express/airmail letters in Spanish or
your own language:
- expressing grave concern at the appearance in Bogotá on 23 August 1999 of
a death list threatening those named above;
- urging the government to take immediate steps to guarantee the safety of
those people named on the list who have not already left the country, as well
as all other people who have publicly worked to advance the peace process;
- calling for an immediate investigation into the death threats, for the results
to be made public and those responsible to be brought to justice;
- deploring the killing of Jaime Garzón and calling for a full, prompt and
impartial investigation into his killing, for the results to be made public
and for all those responsible to be brought to justice.
APPEALS TO:
President of Colombia:
Señor Presidente Andrés Pastrana, Presidente de la República
Palacio de Nariño, Carrera 8 No. 7-26, Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: President Pastrana, Bogotá, Colombia
Telex: 44281 PALP CO
Fax: + 57 1 286 7434/ 284 2186/ 337 1351
Salutation: Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente/Dear President Pastrana
Minister of the Interior
Dr. Néstor Humberto Martínez, Ministro del Interior
Ministerio del Interior, Carrera 8, No.8-09, Piso 2
Santafé de Bogotá, COLOMBIA
Telegrams: Ministerio del Interior, Bogotá, Colombia
Telexes:45406 MINGO CO
Fax:+ 57 1 286 8025 / 281 5884 / 342 3201
Salutation:Sr. Ministro/Dear Minister
Commander of the Army
General Jorge Enrique Mora Rangel
Comandante del Ejército Nacional
Avenida Eldorado - Carrera 52
Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: Comandante del Ejercito, Bogotá, Colombia
Telexes:43401 COEJC
Fax:+ 57 1 315 1570
Salutation:Sr. Comandante/Dear Commander
COPIES TO:
Attorney General
Dr. Alfonso Gómez Méndez,
Fiscal General de la Nación, Fiscalía General de la Nación,
Diagonal 22B 5201,Apartado Aéreo 29855, Santafé de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams:Fiscal General, Fiscalía General, Bogotá, Colombia
Faxes:+ 571 570 2022
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 7 October 1999.

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