Colombia: Conduct Full and Impartial Investigation into Treatment and Unlawful Detention of Three Human Rights Defenders | Joint Letter

Full PDF Version (Spanish)

LRWC was deeply concerned to learn from the Equipo Juridico Pueblos (EJP) that on 1 July, whilst protesting peacefully, three human rights defenders were subjected to violence by law enforcement officials during their arrest for allegedly blocking a road and for alleged violence against public servants. During the protest, human rights lawyer Rommel Jonathan Durán Castellanos intervened to protect community leader Eliecer Alfonso Vergel from physical attack by agents of ESMAD (National Police riot control unit). In response, ESMAD began to assault Mr. Durán and Mr. Alfonso. When Maria Fernanda Montiel Murillo, a journalist with the Colombia Informa, voiced her concerns at the treatment of her colleagues, she was physically assaulted by plain clothes officers. Mr. Durán, Mr. Alfonso and Ms. Montiel were then taken to the police stations of La Gloria and Aguachica and detained for 31 hours before being released without charges.

LRWC wrote a joint letter with other international organizations to urge the Government of Colombia to conduct a full and impartial investigation into the treatment and unlawful detention of the three human rights defenders. The letter also urges the Government to provide them with adequate protective measures, to ensure they can carry out their duties without harassment or intimidation.