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Colombia
10.03.14
Urgent Interventions

International organisations request that attention be paid to the case against David Ravelo

On 11th of February last year, the follow up of thedemand for annulment of the judicial process against the human rights defender David Ravelo Crespo, member of theRegional Corporation for the Defense of Human Rights in Magdalena Medio(CREDHOS), from the city of Barrancabermeja, was filed before the High Court ofBucaramanga (Santander). In a number of occasions, the International NGOs andnetworks who have signed below have reiterated concerns regarding a series ofirregularities throughout the proceedings which resulted in the conviction ofMr Ravelo and his 220 month prison sentence.

David Ravelo Crespo has been detained since the 14thof September 2010, when he was accused of an aggravated homicide committed in1991. We believe that in a legal system, it is of fundamental importance thatcertain legal guarantees relating to due process and the right to a fair trialare respected. According to objections these guarantees have been repeatedlyviolated during the legal process against David Ravelo. For this reason wequestion the conviction of David Ravelo and reiterate that David Ravelo has notreceived the rights and guarantees according to national and international legalnorms. Consequently we believe that the case against David Ravelo has beencorrupted, therefore he should be released from detention and receive a fairand impartial trial that provides all the guarantees that have been denied.

Since Mr. Ravelo Crespo has been detained, nationaland international bodies have highlighted his case and the lack of compliancewith national and international standards of due process. On 4 September 2013,the presented an Amicus Curiae[1] inthe case of David Ravel Crespo before the Superior Court of Santander(Colombia). Amongst other considerations the amicus curiae, concludes that theJudiciary should declare the process invalid and that David Ravelo should beabsolved because “the conviction of Mr Ravelo was contradictory to the weightof evidence that in this case showed his innocence“.[2]

According to defense lawyers, these irregularitieshave undermined the defense of Mr. Ravelo Crespo and the integrity of thesubsequent conviction. Among these irregularities, lawyers denounce thelegitimacy of the prosecutor who led the investigation: Prosecutor WilliamPacheco Granados, from the Prosecutor’s Office no. 22 of the National CounterTerrorism Unit. Mr Pacheco Granados was previously a lieutenant in the NationalPolice in Armenia (Quindío, Colombia) and was investigated by the Inspector ́sGeneral Office (Procuraduría[3]). Hewas subsequently removed from his post by this authority as a result of hisalleged involvement in the disappearance of William Hurtado Parra in Armenia in1991.[4]

Furthermore the defense team for David Ravelo arguesthat current legal process is equivalent to a reformulation of previous chargesthat David Ravelo has already been cleared of, such as the claim that as amember of the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia, he ordered theassassination of Nuñez Cala. We reiterate that David Ravelo was imprisoned for27 months between 1993 and 1995 accused of rebellion, he was tried and clearedof all charges in the first and second stage of proceedings and furthermore helater won compensation from the state for arbitrary detention.[5]

As International NGOs and Networks we urge that theColombian authorities order that David Ravelo be released immediately as wellas the admission and processing in a transparent and effective way of theCassation appeal put forward by Mr. Ravelo ́s defense team. We also urge thatall irregularities that have been mentioned since the detention of David Ravelobe investigated and sanctioned according to Colombian Law and relevantinternational legal standards.

Signed:


- ABColombia, (Plataforma de organizaciones de ReinoUnido).

- ASK! - Grupo de Trabajo Suizo por Colombia, (Suiza)

- Brigadas Internacionales de Paz -PBI, (OrganizaciónInternacional).

- Colombian Caravana UK Lawyers Group, (Reino Unido).

- Cooperacció, (Estado Español).

- DKA, (Austria).

- Frontline Defenders, (Irlanda).

- Iniciativa Solidaria Internacionalista, (EstadoEspañol).

- Justicia por Colombia, (Estado Español).

- Kolko – Derechos Humanos en Colombia, (Alemania).

- MISEREOR, (Alemania).

- Observatorio para la Protección de los Defensores deDerechos Humanos OMCT / FIDH, (Organización Mundial Contra la Tortura – OMCT yFederación Internacional para los Derechos Humanos - FIDH).

- Oficina Internacional de Derechos Humanos –AcciónColombia - OIDHACO, (Plataforma de organizaciones europeas).

- Paz Christi, (Alemania).


- Protection International, (Bélgica).


- Taula Catalana per la Pau i el Drets Humans aColòmbia, (Estado Español).

- United Steelworkers, (Estados Unidos).


- Washington Office on Latin America – WOLA, (EstadosUnidos).

[1] An amicus curiae (literally “friend of the court”)refers to presentations made by an unrelated third party regarding some pointof law or other related matter in order to assist in the resolution of thematter before the court.


[2] Bar Human Rights Committee of the Bar of England andWales (BHRC), Amicus Curiae before the High Court of Santander in relation tothe trial and sentence dictated First Criminal Court of the SpecialisedCircuit-Attached- (Providencia n o 151, radicado: 2011-0049-01 del 16 denoviembre de 2012. Causa contra David Ravelo Crespo), Paragraph 72.


[3] Autonomous body which controls and monitors the publicfunction of state employees

[4] The Inspector General ́s Human Rights Delegate:Resolution 15 of 10 July 1992, Resolution 017 of 22 November 1993 andResolution 2117 of 15 March 1994.

[5] LaSandunga Films: En medio del Magdalena Medio, 2012

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