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Colombia
11.06.02
Urgent Interventions

Colombia: forced disappearances in Guarne, Mapiripán and the region of Facatativa

Case COL 110602
Several forced disappearances

The international Secretariat of the OMCT requests your urgent intervention on the following situation in Colombia.

Brief description of the situation

The International Secretariat of OMCT has been informed by the Asociación de Familiares de Detenidos Desaparecidos de Colombia (ASFADDES), of various forced disappearances that occurred the following events that took place in Guarne (Department of Antioquia), Mapiripán (Meta), and the region of Facatativa (Cundinamarca).

According to the information received, the following complaints of forced disappearances have recently come to the attention of ASFADDES:

· Mr. José Aldemar Panesso Cartagena, a 38-year old labour farmer, disappeared on February 5th, 2002. At around 6 p.m., three unknown men approached the Vereda La Mosquita en Guarne, Antioquia in a four door vehicle (automovil burbuja), and forcibly removed Mr. Panesso Cartagena in the presence of his wife and child. In August 2001, the Rural Gaula of the IV Brigade reportedly went to the farm Villa Sonia in the Municipality of Girardota, Antioquia to question Mr. José Aldemar Panesso Cartagena about a person who had been abducted. His family filed a complaint on his forced disappearance before the General Prosecutor and before the Gaula.

· On February 18th, 2002, 37-year old Mr. Carlos Uriel Vega Lugo, who is married and comes from Puerto Lleras, Meta, left his residence in the municipality of Villavicencio, Meta, to travel ASFADDES to the municipality of Mapiripán. There, he met his 43-year old brother Hector Augusto Vega Lugo, who is also married. Carlos Uriel Vega Lugo, a tradesman, often travelled to the Municipality of Mapiripán, in an airplane which he hired to carry his merchandise to that municipality.

On March 12th, 2002, Mr.Vega Lugo and Hector Augusto Vega Lugo left the municipality of Mapiripán to go to a farm that belonged to their family, in order to check up on their cattle. They reportedly claimed that they had been authorized by the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC) of the area to travel to the farm. However, on arrival at the farm they found that the guerrilla was camping in the area. According to the report, a confrontation between the paramilitary and the guerrilla took place that day, and since then nothing has been heard from them.

According to the report, information has been received stating that the Vega Lugo brothers had been killed and buried in an area near the aforementioned farm. The authorities went to the farm to look for the bodies on April 5th, 2002, but they only found garbage piles, and the medicine that the brothers had taken to treat the cattle. Their relatives searched through the river Guaviare as far as the Municipality of Caño Jabon, in order to look for clues that would help them find the brothers, but to this date nothing is known of their whereabouts or of their physical and psychological integrity.




· Mr. Jaime Humberto Alvarez Jaramillo, 25, and Alejandro Garcia Berrio, 23, have been missing since 4 March 2002. They are known to have driven through the centre of Medellín in a white Chevrolet Swiff vehicle (number plates MDP417) in order to see to affairs related with their work as administrators in their family’s bus business. Since this date their whereabouts remains unknown.

The information states that the two men are owners and managers of the transport company “Flota Transportes Medellín” which covers the north-east areas of the city, especially the neighbourhoods of París, Picacho and 12 de Octubre. It seems that a number of persons involved in organising strikes among bus drivers were killed during 2001. They were protesting against the state of insecurity that reigns, in an area controlled by paramilitaries. Both bus drivers and the company owners have been made to pay amounts of money known as “boletas” to a group which calls itself “Frank’s Gang” (“La Banda de Frank”).


· On 27 April 2002, Ms. Luz Yeing Riveros Perdomo, aged 22, from Jerusalén, Cundinamarca and Mr.Victor Hugo García Jiménez disappeared with 3 other persons whilst travelling from Palma-Cundinamarca towards Bogotá. She was with Martha Isabel León Acosta, a widow of 40 years old from Bucaramanga, Israel Palacios and Diego Javier Game, about whom we have no further details, in an old-fashioned model of a Cheroki van. It is known the van had mechanical problems near Tobía, but that they left with the help of another vehicle. In her last communication with her family, Ms. Riveros Perdomo said that she had been detained in a large village, which her family presumes to be one of the following places: Tobía, Nocaima ; La Vega or Facatativá.


On 2 May 2002 ASFADDES was contacted by one of the disappeared persons, Ms. Martha Isabel León Acosta, who stated that she had been held by the group Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia (AUC). After verifying that they had no connections with illicit armed groups, Ms. León Acosta together with Israel Palacios and Diego Javier Game were released. According to ASFADDES, Ms. León Acosta was released in good health, but they have not seen the other two persons she says were released with her. She does not wish to report the events to any government authority, possibly for fear of reprisals and only spoke to ASFADDES to inform them that Ms.Luz Yeing Riveros Perdomo and Mr. Víctor Hugo García Jiménez are still missing.

The International Secretariat of the OMCT wishes to point out that forced disappearances are considered to be a crime against humanity and condemns the above persecution of the civil population, the apparent impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators and the lack of effective protection measures taken by municipal, government and national authorities to prevent these events.


Action requested:

Please write to the Colombian authorities urging them to:

i. immediately locate the whereabouts of the aforementioned people, and take all necessary measures to guarantee their physical and psychological integrity;

ii. order a thorough and impartial investigation into the circumstances of these events and guarantee that those responsible are brought to trial and that the penal, civil and/or administrative sanctions are applied as provided by law;

iii. carry out immediately the given recommendations by international and regional human rights organisations , including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Commission for Human Rights of the United Nations, and the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights;

iv. guarantee the respect of human rights and the fundamental freedoms throughout the country in accordance with national laws and international human rights laws and standards.

Addresses

· S.E. Andrés Pastrana Arango, Presidente de la República, Cra. 8 n°.7-26, Palacio de Nariño, Santafé de Bogotá. Fax: (+57 1) 566 20 71 e-mail : apastra@presidencia.gov.co
· Consejería Presidencial de Derechos Humanos, Calle 7 n°. 6-54 Piso 3, Santafé de Bogotá, D. C. Fax: (+57 1) 337 13 51
· Doctor Gustavo Bell Lemus, Ministro de la Defensa, Avenida El Dorado con Cra. 52 CAN, Santafé de Bogotá. Fax: (+57 1) 222 18 74 ; e-mail : siden@mindefensa.gov.co ; infprotocol@mindefensa.gov.co ; mdn@cable.net.co
· Doctor Armando Estrada Villa, Ministro del Interior, Cra. 8 n°. 8-09 Santa Fe de Bogotá, Santafé de Bogotá. Fax: (+57 1) 286 80 25 ; e-mail: mininterior@myrealbox.com ; minisint@col1.telecom.com.co
· Doctor Edgardo José Maya Villazón, Procurador General de la Nación, Carrera 5 n°. 15-80,Santa Fe de Bogotá.Fax: (+57 1) 342 97 23;(+57 1) 281 75 31 ; e-mail : reygon@procuraduria.gov.co ; anticorrupcion@presidencia.gov.co
· Doctor Luis Camilo Osorio, Fiscal General de la Nación, Diagonal 22 B n°. 52-01, Santafé de Bogotá. Fax: (+57 1) 570 20 00 ; contacto@fiscalia.gov.co ; denuncie@fiscalia.gov.co
· Doctor Eduardo Cifuentes, Defensor del Pueblo, Calle 55 n°. 10-32 Santa Fe de Bogotá. Fax: (+ 57 1) 640 04 91 e-mail : secretaria_privada@hotmail.com
· General Fernando Tapias Stahelin, Comandante de las Fuerzas Militares, Avenida el Dorado con Cra. 52, Santafé de Bogotá. Fax: (+57 1) 222 29 35 ; e-mail : siden@mindefensa.gov.co ; pilaque@cgm.mil.co

Please write to the embassies of Colombia in your respective countries

Geneva, June 11th, 2002

Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
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