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UA 407/92 - Colombia: torture / fear for safety: Luis Fernando Martinez, Sonebia Pinzon Herrera, Marcela Becerra Pinzon

, N° d'index: AMR 23/074/1992

AI is gravely concerned at the reported rape of Sonebia Pinzon Herrera and her two-year-old daughter Marcela by soldiers who arrived at their house at approximately 1.30 am on 7 November 1992, claiming to be looking for weapons. Luis Fernando Martinez was taken away from the house by soldiers but managed to alert his mother, who lived nearby, and was allowed to go with her into her home. Sonebia Pinzon has stated that she was taken onto the patio with her three-year-old son and was raped by soldiers who appeared to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol. She heard her daughter screaming and later found her semi-conscious; she had been raped. Marcela was medically examined and the rapes were denounced to local and regional authorities.

EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 23/74/92
Distr: UA/SC
UA 407/92 Torture /Fear for safety 22 December 1992
Sonebia PINZON HERRERA (female)
Marcela BECERRA PINZON (female), aged 2
Amnesty International is gravely concerned at the reported torture and ill-treatment
of Luís Fernando Martínez, Sonebia Pinzón and her two year-old daughter, Marcela
Becerra Pinzón, on 7 November 1992 in Sabaneta, Santander department, by members
of the armed forces. Amnesty International is seriously concerned that Luís Fernando
Martínez and his family may be subjected to further human rights violations.
According to Luís Fernando Martínez and Sonebia Pinzón's testimonies, which the
organization has just received, the family were asleep in bed when, at approximately
1.30 am, they were woken up by five members of the army's 2nd Mobile Brigade, Brigada
Móvil No 2, which was temporarily based at the nearby police station of Sabaneta.
The soldiers reportedly hammered on the door, demanding to be admitted and claiming
that they had come to search for weapons which they believed were hidden there. When
Luís Fernando Martínez opened the door, one of the soldiers entered and held a gun
to his chest, while the other four went to the room where Sonebía Pinzón and her
children were sleeping. They attacked Sonebía Pinzón, attempting to rape her. When
Luís Fernando Martínez pleaded with the soldiers to leave her alone, the soldiers
reportedly threatened to kill him if Sonebía Pinzón did not submit to them. The soldier
who was holding a gun to Luís Fernando Martínez' chest took him to the door of the
house and fired a shot into the air. At this, two of the soldiers left the house
and went in the direction of the army base. The remaining two soldiers threatened
to take Luís Fernando Martínez to the base and the one guarding him began to lead
him in that direction, insulting and threatening him. On the way, Luís Fernando
Martínez passed his mother's house and shouted out that he was being detained. The
soldier reportedly punched him and threatened to shoot him. His repeated cries for
help brought his mother out and as a result of her pleading he was allowed to go
with her into her home. The soldier threatened him, saying that if he returned to
his own house he would be shot.
According to Sonebia Pinzón's statement, one of the two soldiers remaining in the
house took her, together with her three year-old boy, to the patio. There she was
raped, against threats that Luís Fernando Martínez would be killed if she did not
submit. She states the soldier appeared to be under the influence of drugs or drink.
Sonebia Pinzón heard the screams of her two year-old daughter, who was in another
room with her 8 month-old baby, but was prevented from going to her. She states that
she was then raped again, by the soldier who had taken Luís Fernando Martínez away
and later returned to the house. When the two soldiers returned to the child's room
to look for a mislaid pistol, Sonebía Pinzón followed them and found her two year-old
daughter Marcela Becerra Pinzón semi-conscious. She had been raped by the remaining
soldier, who had fallen asleep on the child's bed. The soldiers left soon afterwards.
A medical examination of Marcela Becerra Pinzón was carried out and the torture and
ill-treatment of the family was denounced to local and regional authorities, including
the ombudsman, personería, of Sabana de Torres and the regional procurator, Procurador
of Bucaramanga.
The largely rural area of the Magdalena Medio in central Colombia has been a focus
of political violence for several years following the emergence of
Page 2 of UA 407/92
guerrilla groups in the 1960s and subsequent militarization of the region during
the 1980s. Human rights abuses have escalated in the region including enforced
recruitment, torture, extrajudicial execution and "disappearance" committed by the
Colombian army, police and paramilitary organizations working with them, against
members of the civilian population perceived as potential guerrilla collaborators.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express and airmail letters
either in Spanish, English or in your own language:
- expressing concern at the torture and ill-treatment of Luís Fernando Martínez,
Sonebia Pinzón Herrera and Marcela Becerra Pinzón and the rape of Sonebia Pinzón
and her two year old daughter, Marcela, by members of the army's Mobile Brigade;
- urging for an immediate independent investigation into the torture to bring all
those responsible to justice and for the results to be made public;
- urging that the family receive full compensation from the state and seeking
guarantees for the safety of Luís Fernando Martínez, Sonebia Pinzón Herrera and Marcela
Becerra Pinzón.
) Procurator General:
Dr. Carlos Gustavo Arrieta Padilla
Procurador General de la Nación
Procuraduría General
Edificio Banco Ganadero
Carrera 5, No. 15-80
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: Procurador General Arrieta, Bogotá, Colombia
Telexes:41224 PRGEN CO / 41213 PGNDP CO
Faxes:+ 57 1 284 0472
Salutation: Sr. Procurador de la Nación / Dear Dr. Arrieta
2) Minister of Defence
Dr. Rafael Pardo Rueda
Ministro de Defensa Nacional
Ministerio de Defensa Nacional
Avenida Eldorado - Carrera 52
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams:Ministro de Defensa Pardo Rueda
Santa Fe de Bogota, Colombia
Telexes:42411 INPRE CO / 44561 CFAC CO
Faxes:+ 57 1 222 1874
Salutation: Sr. Ministro / Dear Minister
3) President of Colombia:
Señor Presidente César Gaviria Trujillo
Presidente de la República
Palacio de Nariño
Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia
Telegrams: President Gaviria, Bogotá,
Telexes: 44281 PALP CO
Faxes: + 57 1 286 3066 / + 57 1 286 7324 / + 57 1 287 7937
Salutation: Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente / Dear President Gaviria
Human Rights Organization:
Comité Permanente por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos
AA 12817
Santa Fé de Bogotá, COLOMBIA
and to diplomatic representatives of Colombia accredited to your country
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat, or your
sections office, if sending appeals after 2 February 1993.

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