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Paraguay: Torture / fear for safety: Cesar Barrios

, N° d'index: AMR 45/002/1995

In the fourth such case in Paraguay this year, a conscientious objector has been abducted and tortured. Cesar Barrios, a member of the Conscientious Objection Movement (MOC), managed to escape from soldiers who abducted him, but AI remains seriously concerned for his safety and for the safety of other members of the MOC.

EXTERNAL AI Index: AMR 45/02/95
UA 256/95 Torture / Fear for safety 20 November 1995
PARAGUAYCésar BARRIOS, conscientious objector
In the fourth such case in Paraguay this year, a conscientious objector has
been abducted and tortured. The latest victim, César Barrios, a member of
the Movimiento de Objección de Conciencia (MOC), Conscientious Objection
Movement, managed to escape from the soldiers who abducted him, but Amnesty
International remains seriously concerned for his safety and for the safety
of other members of the MOC, about whom César Barrios was questioned by his
On 4 November 1995 César Barrios was travelling to the town of Pirapey,
department of Itapua, to attend a meeting on conscientious objection in the
home town of Víctor Hugo Maciel, a conscript who had been killed on 2 October
whilst doing military service with the 1a División de Caballería, 1st Cavalry
Division. Since the soldier's death, community members have been reluctant
to allow their children to undertake military service at the barracks and the
soldier's family had invited César Barrios to inform the community about
conscientious objection.
Some 70 kilometres from Encarnación, on the road to Pirapey, a military patrol,
made up of five soldiers without identity badges or insignia of rank, stopped
the bus and ordered the passengers to show their identity documents. When
César Barrios was also asked to show his military exemption papers, he declared
that he was a conscientious objector and produced a document from the Comisión
de Derechos Humanos de la Cámara de Diputados, Human Rights Commission of the
Chamber of Deputies, acknowledging his status as a conscientious objector.
One of the soldiers ripped up the document in front of the other passengers.
César Barrios was then forced out of the bus, handcuffed, blindfolded, and
forced into the military patrol's vehicle. After a journey of three or four
hours they arrived at a military base where César Barrios was forced into a
dirty bathroom, had his blindfold removed, and was forced to inhale a
sleep-inducing chemical. He fell to the ground and was repeatedly kicked by
the soldiers. After that five naked soldiers came in, insulted him, saying
that conscientious objectors were homosexuals. They said that they would teach
him to be a good "macho", and theatened to rape him. Meanwhile, the soldiers
masturbated themselves.
César Barrios was then forced onto a chair, his arms tied behind his back,
and was threatened with a knife and questioned about the MOC. The soldiers
demanded to know the names and addresses of the leaders of the MOC, and about
its members and the campaign against compulsory military service. sar Barrios
was tortured into the early hours of 5 November. He was kept in the bathroom
until the evening when a member of the military unit reportedly helped him
to escape. Reportedly, César Barrios found that he was in the headquarters
of the III División de Caballería, III Division of the Cavalry, in Ciudad del
Earlier in 1995, Venancio Vera, Pablo Ozorio (on 19 February) and Sebastián
Coronel (4 March) were abducted by members of the National Police in San Joaquín.
During their detention the three conscientious objectors were beaten and forced
to undertake four days of forced labour. To date none of those responsible
for their detention and ill-treatment has been detained or charged. This
continued impunity makes further abductions and torture of conscientious
objectors more likely.
Conscientious objection in Paraguay is a constitutional right and conscientious
objectors need only declare their objection to compulsory military service
to gain legal recognition of their status. To date approximately 600 people
have declared themselves to be conscientious objectors. Since October 1993
seven conscientious objectors have reportedly been illegally detained by
members of the security forces.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Please send telegrams/telexes/faxes/express/airmail
letters in Spanish or your own language:
- expressing concern for the safety of César Barrios and other members of the
Movimiento de Objección de Conciencia (MOC), Conscientious Objection Movement,
following the alleged abduction and torture of César Barrios on 4 November
1995, apparently by members of the III Cavalry Division;
- calling for full and impartial investigations into these allegations;
- expressing concern that this is the fourth such case this year (giving details
of others if possible) and that no one has yet been brought to justice for
these violations;
- calling on the authorities to publicly condemn these abuses, and to ensure
that the apparent impunity of those responsible is ended.
President of Paraguay
Exmo. Sr. Presidente de la República del Paraguay
Juán Carlos Wasmosy
Palacio de López, Asunción, Paraguay
Telegrams: Presidente Wasmosy, Asunción, Paraguay
Telexes: 411 SUBINFOR PY
Faxes: + 595 21 49 88 09; +595 21 49 36 22
Salutation: Excelentísimo Sr. Presidente/Dear President Wasmosy
Minister of the Interior
Exmo. Sr. Ministro del Interior
Dr Diógenes Martínez
Ministerio del Interior
Estrella y Montevideo, Asunción, Paraguay
Telegrams: Ministro del Interior, Asunción, Paraguay
Faxes: 595 21 44 00 44
Salutation: Sr. Ministro/Dear Minister
Minister of Defence
Exmo. Sr. Ministro de Defensa Nacional
Dr. Hugo Estigarribia Elizeche
Ministerio de Defensa Nacional
Avda Mcal. López y Vice Pdte. Sánchez
Asunción, Paraguay
Telegrams: Ministro de Defensa Nacional, Asunción, Paraguay
Salutation: Sr. Ministro/Dear Minister
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Exmo. Sr. Ministro de Relaciones Exteriores
Luis Ramirez Boettner
Ministerio de Relaciones Exteriores
Pdte. Franco 707 c/O'Leary, Asunción, Paraguay
Telegrams: Ministro Relaciones Exteriores, Asunción, Paraguay
Telexes: 111 RELACIONES PY
Salutation: Sr. Ministro/Dear Minister
President of the National Congress
Señor Milcíades Rafael Casabianca
Presidente del Congreso Nacional
Avda. República y 14 de mayo, Asunción, Paraguay
Human Rights Organization
Servicio de Justicia y Paz - Paraguay, SERPAJ,
Azara 313c/Iturbe 2do Piso, Asunción, Paraguay
and to diplomatic representatives of PARAGUAY accredited to your country.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS IMMEDIATELY. Check with the International Secretariat,
or your section office, if sending appeals after 6 January 1996.

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