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Issue #1655      September 10, 2014

Political Prisoner Liliany Obando

House arrest after six days on a hunger strike

On Wednesday August 13 Liliany Obando took the radical decision to go on a hunger strike. This was in protest of yet another injustice in this six-year ordeal that started with her initial illegal and unfair arrest on August 8, 2008. At that time Liliany was held without charge for 43 months at the notorious El Buen Pastor women’s prison in Bogota.

The injustice was heightened by a denial of her right to be held in home detention to be able to care for her young children. International pressure exposed the illegality of her detention without charge and forced an end of legal terms. Liliany was then granted bail and placed on Provisional release on March 1, 2012.

While on Provisional release she was sentenced to 70 months in detention and 707 million Colombian Pesos (around $400,000), a fine that would be impossible to repay for any worker or activist let alone a single mother of two young children.

On August 5, 2014 the Colombian trade unionist and political prisoner was again taken from her home where she had been serving out the remainder of her sentence under house arrest.

Immediately international networks went into action and the call was made for solidarity with Liliany Obando to local and international human rights organisations to demand her unconditional release. The International Network in Solidarity with Colombia’s Political Prisoners (INSPP) mobilised and sent a Canadian activist to shield Liliany and her family.

On August 19, six days into her hunger strike Liliany Obando was transferred to her family home and is now under house arrest. Reports indicate she suffered a fall and sustained injuries to her right arm and her head when she hit the ground. She did not receive any kind of medical attention and family and friends feared for her health.

Since she was transferred to her family home a number of international delegations have been visiting Liliany. Among the high profile visitors are Justice for Colombia UK (JFC) sponsored lawyers and Parliamentarians such as SF MP Conor Murphy and German MPs Heinz Bierbaum and Dietmar Schultz.

All this is proof of the power of international solidarity that in this case has kept Liliany alive. Over the six-year ordeal several unions have sent delegations and other support to Liliany and her family.

The Communist Party of Australia, CPA expresses its solidarity with Liliany Obando and her family who are also victims of Colombia’s state terrorism: we will continue campaigning for her unconditional release and the freedom of more than 9,500 Colombian Political Prisoners.

For updates on her case visit: www.inspp.org

Next article – Landmark People’s Bill in Queensland

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