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Bulletin 9: Threats and false accusations against the Movement

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ImageThe National Movement for Victims of State Crimes (MOVICE) brings together victims of crimes of the state, defining victims as Colombian men and women affected by state violence. It is estimated that since the 1980s the Colombian state has been directly or indirectly responsible for around 70,000 deaths and disappearances.

Persecution of MOVICE and its members

Leader of Fedeagromisbol assassinated

The 22nd of April, Edgar Martínez was assassinated in the municipality of San Pablo, Sur de Bolívar. Edgar Martínez, was a member of the Agromining Federation of the Sur de Bolivar department, President of the Asociation for the Integration of Agromining Communities from the South, ASICASS; spokesman for the roundtable for Social Integration and Social Transformation for San Pablo and spokesman of the commission for Interlocution of the Sur de Bolívar department, representing communities in front of local, regional and the national government. The killing took place at two minutes of the national police checkpoint, at the entrance of the village of San Pablo. Edgar had been in San Pablo since the 21st of April. Edgar had been trying to reach the village of Monterrey, but the Police told him at the checkpoint that he wasn't allowed to leave the town, since various members of the National Police had been assassinated in days before. A little after, Edgar tried to leave the town to head towards the village of El Retorno, where he lived, but in the same checkpoint they told him that was impossible because it was too late.1

The 24th of April in the village of San Pablo, Mr. Eulises Porras, president of the Junta de Acción Comunal (JAC) of the village of Villa Nueva was arbitrarily detained together with the president of the JAC of the village La Esmeralda by members of the National Police. Thanks to the fast intervention of social organizations and the regional ombudsman, were put into liberty again. Both farmer leaders had been working during this last year in the process of fiscal control on the mayor of San Pablo and the activities developed by Asojuntas in this municipality.2

Union leader assassinated in Montería (Córdoba)3

Hernán Polo, regional president of the Union of workers and members of Education (Sitraenal), was shot on the 4th of April by two men on a motorbike when he was arriving at his house. During the attack mister Polo got killed and his sixteen year old daughter seriously insured.

Death threats against Carmelo Agámez and Juan Díaz4

The 1st of April the Comisión Intereclesial de Justicia y Paz (CIJyP) was informed on a list that had appeared in Sincelejo and San Onofre, in which various people appeared with death threats and which had been signed by a group called EXMIPAZ (ex-militaries for peace), who announced as their national objective to “eradicate those people that do us so much harm”, mentioning among others Carmelo Agámez, Human Rights Defender, Technical Secretary of the MOVICE in the Sucre department unjustly detained because of supposed ties with paramilitaries since November 15th 2008. And Enriquetta and Juan David Díaz, family members of the assassinated ex-mayor of El Roble Eudaldo Díaz, accused of “false and manipulators”. The death threats give 72 hours to the people to leave the city, announcing they would wait for those who at this moment are in prison, with a clear reference to Carmelo Agámez.

Persecution against the indigenous movement continues5

The 17th of April in the city of Cali (Valle del Cauca), Miss Marta Cucuñame was heading home after picking up her five year old son, when she was intercepted by two men on a red motorbike who shot twice. The 20th of April a letter, enclosed in a plastic bag, was left at the place where Miss Cucuñame and her family stays, which said “be thankful son of a bitches that we didn't succeed on the 17th, but we scared you and the next one will be real”. Miss Cucuñame and her husband, the indigenous leader José Goyes, have been displaced to Cali after an attempt to murder José Goyes in 2008.

Intelligence Reports by the DAS on the Lawyers Collective José Alvear Restrepo (CCAJAR)

According to an article that appeared in April in the magazine Semana, CCAJAR appears with an own intelligence report. “In an operation called 'Transmilenio', they investigated everything on the organization: finances, movements of people, location, composition of the familiar nucleus and transport means, in between others. This operation started in 2004 and had as its principle objective Alirio Uribe, president of CCAJAR.”6

Arbitrary detention of a lawyer of the Solidarity Committee with Political Prisoners (CSPP)7

The 23rd of April in the municipality of Floridablanca, that forms part of the metropolitan area of Bucaramanga, the lawyer Leonardo Jaimes Marin was illegally detained by members of the National Police of Floridablanca. The lawyer was traveling on his motorbike on the regular route from his house to his office, when a motorbike with two policemen abruptly crossed his way. One of the policemen positioned himself behind the lawyer, pointing a gun to him, while the other ordered Leonardo to show his identity papers and to register his back. It should be noticed, that the names of the members of the National Police, which always should be visible on the uniform, were covered and that both policemen denied identifying themselves. In view of these irregularities the lawyer asked for the motives of the policemen to proceed in this way. Three minutes after a police patrol arrived, with mayor Zamora and policeman Lizcano. Zamora in an aggressive way gave the order to take the lawyer Leonardo to the headquarters of the Police Intelligence (SIJIN) and that the lawyer should be filmed. One of the agents on the motorbike said that they had to verify if there were any delinquent precedents.

Massive detentions in Santander

The 29th of March 25 farmers were detained in the municipalities of Socorro, Simacota, Chima and El Hato, presented as members of the National Liberation Army (ELN). In the military operation, various civilians with military garment and their faces covered with were responsible for indicating who should be detained. The 30th of March the National Police of Santander organized a press conference in which the farmers were presented as members of the guerrilla ELN, that had been detained in the military operation “Comuneros II”; an act that constitutes a clear violation of the right to the presumption of innocence.8 The 22nd of April the attorney absolved all farmers of the charges that had been presented to them, since there didn't exist any evidential material, and all 25 were released.9

Social leaders and human rights defenders threatened in Pitalito (Huila)

The 16th of April, a paramilitary group "Black Eagles" left pamphlets in the houses of various social leaders and human rights defenders, such as, Faiber Cadena Luna, Andry Gisseth Cantillo, Hermida and Róbinson Londoño, members of the Human Rights Committee Comité de Derechos Humanos de Pitalito and members of the Southern Nucleus of the Human Rights Observatory of the South of Colombia -OBSURDH. In the pamphlets they received death threats and they were told to leave the municipality of Pitalito within 24 hours. The death threats form part of a total of intimidating actions, such as harassments and threatening phone calls, against human rights defenders and leaders of the popular neighborhoods belonging to Pitalito, who already had denounced the alarming situation with respect to human rights violations, cases of extrajudicial executions and the constant aggressions of the Police Force against youth, to the Verification Mission of the Human Rights situation, that had been realized the 18th, 19th and 20th of February 2009. In the Verification Mission the National Ombudsman, Municipal Ombudsman, UNPD and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Colombia and OBSURDH were present. 10

Threats and false accusations against the Movement in Defense of People's Rights (MODEP)

The 24th of April people and organizations in Usme and Ciudad Bolívar received an email from the email account with the title “Early Alert: Jymy Forero (MODEP) paramilitary infiltration”. The objective of the email was to accuse Jymy Forero from MODEP of being a collaborator of paramilitary en Ciudad Bolívar, Bosa, Kennedy and universities, as well as asking MODEP to clarify this situation. Jymy Forero is part of the Impulse Committee of the MOVICE representing MODEP.

The 21st of April MODEP received and email that stated that “we have noticed an increment of militia and political structures in Bogotá (…) We are self-defense forces and we are organizing a new and legitimate antiterrorist and antidelincuencial fight in the city of Bogotá and surrounding villages. (…) In the National University, the Pedagogic University, District's University and other Universities in Bogotá, highschools and neighborhoods the FARC terror, the ELN terror and the Maoist terror is operating (FEU, FES, Asamblea Sur (…) The workshops for student leaders in the National University, MBNC, MJBNC, CICE, FESCOL, Radiochirrixx, FENSUAGRO, MEFISTO, Student offices of Economy, Engineering, Law, Medicine – are used to organize roadblocks and riots, hiding weapons and explosives in their postboxes -,TNT, SUR, Llamarada ML, Aquelarre, community dinners, the leaders of the District University are infiltrated by the ELN, Revolutionary Communist Group Colombia, Anti-imperialist Brigades, Red Guardians and FUN-Commissions or PCC-M or Modep, Udes, Adhip, Itg, Colectivo Comunal JEG; “FARC-Commissions o FUN-EP… itś all the same” directed to you by infiltrated elements (…) From now on any student or scholar needs to possess an explicit authorization by it's University, which certifies who this person is and what he does. (…) In neighborhoods and high-schools of the different urban areas of Bogotá to correct their behavior, to not leave their houses after certain hours and to not involve themselves with insurgent groups , a decision celebrated by many fathers, teachers and students.”

False accusations and threats against a student leader in Norte de Santander

Jhon Edinson Sajonero Gómez, university student leader of the University of Pamplona and national leader of the youth sector of the political party Polo Democrático Alternativo, was approached in a restaurant on the 4th of April by the teacher Julio César Barrera of the University of Pamplona, who told him that: “One thing is the academic work, and another thing is the personal thing. These days I had a security incident near my house, and I had to call the National Police and my friend from the National Army, since I have a lot of friends that work in the security sector (…) I just want to tell you that you should take care, I don't deal with small things, if somebody wants to screw me, I break them into parts at once”. The 5th of April in the same restaurant, Jhon Edinson and the teacher Antonio Stalin had a conversation, in which the latter manifested that : “there had been supposed threats against the daughter of Julio César Barrera and that he had investigated and spoken with the military intelligence, who said that the threats had come from Jhon Edinson, and that he was a dangerous student with ties to the FARC”. 11

MOVICE Activities

Public Audience on crime politics and the national prison situation 12

The 30th of April the Roundtable of Social Organizations that work on the national prison situation, the Solidarity Committee with Political Prisoners and Colombia Diversa, taking into account the preoccupying situation of human rights that people deprived of their liberty are facing in Penitentiary Institutions and Prisons, realized the first Public Audience on Human Rights on the Human Rights situation, Crime Politics and the National Prison Situation. The public audience had been coordinated with the Human Rights Commission of the Senate, as a space of denouncement and political lobby, that has as a principal objective to show to the national and international community the situation of people deprived of their liberty.

Humanitarian Action the Northeast of Antioquía from the 15th until the 19th of May

In the period between 2005 and 2009, there have been 14 cases of farmers that have been a victim of extrajudicial execution in the Northeast of Antioquía, composed by the territories of the municipalities of Remedios and Segovia, and that form part of the Farmers Reserve of the Valley of the River Cimitarra. These actions are taking place in a context of state negligence, constant finger pointing, stigmatization and fake processes against the farmers' organizations and its leaders. As a a result, in these last two years, the community has been forced to organize itself in a camp of humanitarian refugees as a protection mechanism of personal integrity, organized resistance and the defense of their territory. The farmer communities of the Northeast of Antioquía, represented in CAHUCOPANA convoke regional, national and international social organizations to support the 4th Humanitarian Action in the Northeast of Antioquia, that will take place in the village of Puerto Nuevo Ité, municipality of Remedios, Antioquía from the 15th until 19th of March 2009. More information:

Victim's rights

Hearings in the process against the paramilitary leader Diego Fernando Murillo Bejerano, alias “Don Berna” in the United States

While the MOVICE is asking the Peace and Justice Unity of the General Attorney to order within the permitted termine the paramilitary leader Diego Fernando Murillo Bejarano to free versions withing the Peace and Justice framework a Federal Court of the Southerns District of New York, demanded that Murillo should show his support to clarify his support and responsibility in the delinquent actions committed by paramilitary structures under his command. A Court in the USA resolver that a mother, who's son had been disappeared in November 2002 in the 13th Comuna of Medellín by paramilitaries under the command of Diego Fernando Murrillo Bejarano cannot be recognized as victims under Northamerican law. (…) since the boy that had been disappeared wasn't a victim of the crime to traffic cocaine to the USA, which is the charge against alias don Berna.”13 In the process Diego Fernando Murillo has confirmed that “the Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) had contributed economically and politically to the presidential campaign in 2001 of Álvaro Uribe Vélez, afterwards elected as President of the Republic. (…). He also recognized that “the Military Operation Orion, executed in the 13th Comuna of Medellín between the 16th and 19th of October 2002 by the National Army, the National Police and the Security Department (Das) and the Technical Team of the General Attorney to attack various guerrilla nucleus, had been realized in alliance with the AUC. Both Mario Montoya Uribe, at that moment general of the 4th Brigade and today ambassador in the Dominican Republic, as well as Leonardo Gallego, in 2002 general of the National Police and today retired, were aware of this ties with the AUC..”14

Judicial Investigation against human rights defenders closed.15

The ex-commander of the XVII Military Brigade, Colonel Néstor Iván Duque López, had accused the human rights defender and Jesuit priest Javier Giraldo, the director of the Juridical Corporation Liberty, Elkin Ramírez, and the former regional ombudsman of Urabá, Miguel Ángel Afanador, of false denounces insults and slander. Because of this accusation a pre-investigation was started and after archived. In cases in which a human rights defender is involved, any juridical action should pass through the Specialized Attorney of the National Unity for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Right. However, when the process was reopened, the process was focusing on the false denounces against a specific person, and being developed by Attorney 216, sectional delegate of the judges of Bogotá, a scenery that allowed stigmatization and persecution, as shown in the report of Human Rights Everywhere. “Baseless prosecutions of Human Right Defenders in Colombia”. However, with the argument that the human rights defenders did not “formulate in front of any competent authority or under oath any denouncement against Colonel Néstor Iván Duque López”, but that they had presented formal complaints, solicitudes on public information and habeas corpus to the Colombian Presidency and international organs, the attorney decided to preclude the pre-investigation for the offense of false accusations against a specific person. This decision constitutes a new opportunity to make a call to public institutions to recognize the importance of the work realized by human rights defenders in Colombia and that these shouldn't criminalize the legitimate exercise of fundamental rights and guarantees.

Letter from family members of victims of the Alto Ariari ask to not extradite alias “don Mario”

Daniel Rendón Herrera, also known as alias “Don Mario”, captured and postulated to be the 19th paramilitary leader to be extradited to the United States, to be judged there for drug trafficking, apart of having taken part in the paramilitary structures of the “Elmer Cárdenas Block” that operated in Chocó and Antioquía, also has been acting in the Meta department, in the Alto Ariari region and specifically in the municipality of El Castillo. Because of this, victims and family members of his crimes demand the Colombian court to not extradite alias “don Mario”, but to carry out the sentence he received for the murder of the social leader and human rights defender María Lucero Henao and her son Yamid Daniel, on the 6th of February 2004. The farmer communities of the villages La Esperanza, La Esmeralda, Campo Alegre, El Retiro, La Floresta, La Cima, Los Alpes and Puerto Esperanza subscribed this petition, originally formulated by the Community of Life and Peace of the Humanitarian Zone of the Alto Ariari, municipality El Castillo in their assembly realized during the 19th of April 2009.16

The government of Uribe is co-responsible for crimes against humanity, according to an international commission 17 A delegation of 20 British parliamentarians and Canadian and United States' unionists emphasized that they did not have any doubts in that “taking into account the evidence, the government of Álvaro Uribe y the security forces are co-responsible in crimes against humanity”. They added that “they are convinced that these crimes committed by paramilitary structures are approved and actively supported by the government and its security forces”. These facts, they notice, "are even worse taking into account the level of impunity for those who committed these crimes and the lack of the judicial system that could process the material and intellectual perpetrators of these crimes." They also assure that instead of “locking up the real criminals, the government imprisons unionists, members of the political opposition and human rights defenders."At our return to the UK, Canada and the USA we will be lobby for an immediate stop to military and political support to Colombia", states the same declaration. They also assure that they will lobby to "not firm any free trade agreement with Colombia, until human and labor rights are fully respected in a way that is internationally verifiable". They also accuse multinationals, such as Occidental Petroleum to violate human and labor rights in Colombia and finally advocate for "an immediate end to the criminalization of the democratic and legitimate opposition and extrajudicial executions". The chancellor of the UK, Sr. Miliband, announced that all projects on Human Rights with the Ministry of Defense are aborted and that they would support the fight against impunity and accompany civil society in conflict areas.18  

1 “Asesinan a líder social del Sur de Bolívar, miembro de Fedeagromisbol”, Corporación Sembrar 22/04/2009

2 “Policía detiene a dos líderes campesinos en San Pablo” Asociación Campesina del Valle Cimitarra 28/04/09

3 “Asesinan a dirigente sindical en Montería: van seis en 2009” COLPRENSA 05/04/09

4 “Constancia y Censura Ética, amenazas de muerte a Juan David Díaz, Carmelo Agámez” CJyP 14/04/2009

5 “Continúa persecución contra movimiento indígena” Red de Hermandad 21/04/2009

6 “Los de siempre” Revista Semana 25/04/2009

7 “Nuevo abuso policial contra abogado de la seccional Santander de la Fundación Comité de Solidaridad con los Presos Políticos” CSPP 24/04/2009

8 “¿Hasta cuando las detenciones masivas de campesinos en Santander?” FCSPP Santander 31/03/2009

9 “En libertad las 25 personas detenidas el pasado 29 de marzo en Santander” FCSPP 22/04/2009

10 “Amenazas de muerte contra defensores de ddhh y líderes populares en el municipio de Pitalito, Huila” Comité Permanente de Defensa de los DDHH y Observatorio de Surcolombiano de de derechos y violencia (OBSURDH) 17/04/2009

11 Comunicado a la opinión pública Juventud Comunista de Colombia 13/04/2009

12 “Invitación Audiencia Pública de Política Criminal y Sistema Penitenciaria” CSPP 20/04/2009

13 “Víctima de Don Berna no fue reconocida en la Corte de EEUU” IPC 21/04/2009

14 “Una nueva verdad de Don Berna: Apoyo de las AUC a campaña presidencial” IPC 22/04/2009

15 Corporación Jurídica Libertad 16/04/2009

16 “De Ver 513, Familiares de víctimas del Alto Ariari se pronuncian ante el anuncio de extradición de “Don Mario” CjyP 17/04/2009

17 Agencia EFE 07/04/2009

18 “Reino Unido reenfoca su ayuda para Colombia” Semana 02/04/2009 6