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Issue #1580      February 6, 2013

Demand freedom and justice for David Ravelo

Ravelo is a member of Colombia’s Regional Human Rights Corporation and was honoured by the Catholic Diocese of Barrancabermeja for his defence of human rights. He was recently convicted to 18 years in prison for what is widely regarded as a sham trial by national and international human rights organisations. The North American Committee to Free David Ravelo has drafted a sign-on letter reprinted below.

Letter

Dr Eduardo Montealegre Lynett, Fiscal General de la Nación, Fiscalía General,
Dg. 22B No. 52-01 (Ciudad Salitre)Edf. C P.4, Bogotá, Colombia

Dear Dr Montealegre,

This letter concerns David Ravelo who was arrested on September 14, 2010. He is presently wrongly held by your government at La Picota Prison in Bogota. It was announced on December 11, 2012 that he had been convicted of “aggravated homicide” and sentenced to 18 years in prison. Those of us signing this letter regard the judicial process delivering Mr Ravelo to a long prison term as unjust and erroneous.

The pretext for David Ravelo’s arrest and conviction is the allegation he participated in the murder in 1991 of David Núñez Cala, Secretary of Public Works in Barrancabermeja. That charge is false. David Ravelo is innocent. He must be released from prison.

Both Mr Ravelo’s family and his colleagues at the CREDHOS human rights organisation in Barrancabermeja have long been subjected to death threats. The Colombian government must guarantee their safety.

Your government’s purpose in inflicting a long prison sentence on David Ravelo, we suspect, was to silence a recognised defender of human rights. David Ravelo was instrumental in publicising abuses and violence in Barrancabermeja at the hands of murderous paramilitary criminals.

Conduct of Mr. Ravelo’s trial was scandalous. The case against him rested on accusations from two jailed paramilitary murderers who, by testifying, gained reductions in their sentences.

Witness Orlando Noguera testified that the accusers tried to bribe him to corroborate their story. Over 30 witnesses prepared to defend David Ravelo were prevented from testifying at his trial.

Corruption and fakery marking David Ravelo’s trial is epitomised in the role played by prosecutor William Pacheco Granados. In 1991, Granados was a police lieutenant in Armenia. There, he helped arrange for the forced disappearance of Guillermo Hurtado Parra. Colombian law bans perpetrators of such crimes from service as a public official. Yet the Colombian state used Pacheco Granados, designated as “Prosecutor 22 of the National Anti-Terrorist Unit,” as its agent in putting David Ravelo in prison.

Prosecutor Pacheco Granados is a criminal. David Ravelo is neither a criminal nor a terrorist. He must be freed.

The world is watching. United Nations human rights specialists and the Inter- American Commission of Human Rights have come to David Ravelo’s defence. In December, 2012, British parliamentarians denounced his trial and conviction.

Sincerely yours,

(name, address, email, affiliation)  

Next article – The empire goes on the attack

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