Third anniversary of the detention of renowned Colombian human rights defender David Ravelo Crespo

14 September 2013 marks three years since renowned human rights defender David Ravelo Crespo, member of the director’s board of the Regional Corporation for the Defense of Human Rights (CREDHOS) based in the city of Barrancabermeja (Colombia), was detained. As International NGOs and networks, we would like to reiterate concerns regarding a series of irregularities that were reported throughout the proceedings which resulted in his conviction and sentencing to 220 months in prison.

Reiterating our upmost respect for the independence of the judiciary in Colombia, we believe that it is of fundamental importance that national and international guarantees relating to due process and the right to a fair trial are respected. In this regard, we again wish to highlight a series of irregularities that were reported during the trial against Mr. Ravelo Crespo.

According to the defence lawyers, these irregularities have undermined the defence of Mr. Ravelo Crespo and the integrity of the subsequent conviction. Among these irregularities, lawyers denounce the legitimacy of the prosecutor who led the investigation: Prosecutor William Pacheco Granados, from the Prosecutor’s Office no. 22 of the National Counter Terrorism Unit. Mr Pacheco Granados was previously a lieutenant in the National Police in Armenia (Quindío, Colombia) and was investigated by the Inspector´s General Office (Procuraduría)1 He was subsequently removed from his post by this authority as a result of his alleged involvement in the disappearance of William Hurtado Parra in Armenia in 1991.2 In November 1993, Mr Pacheco Granados was sentenced to one year in prison by a military court. According to Colombian law, this disqualifies him from the exercise of any future employment in the prosecution service. On 23 April 2013, a criminal complaint was filed against him for his involvement in this case of enforced disappearance. In July 2013, Mr Pacheco Granados resigned; however, the Attorney General has still not ruled on the issue of his disqualification.

(…) download complete joint declaration below.

Signed:
– ABColombia
– Colombia Caravana UK Lawyers Group
– Colombia Solidarity Campaign
– Cooperacció
– Dialogo Inter-Agencial en Colombia – DIAL
– Front Line Defenders
– Iniciativa Solidaria Internacionalista
– Justice for Colombia
– Justicia por Colombia
– Kolko – Derechos Humanos por Colombia
– Law Society of England & Wales Human Rights Committee
– MISEREORObservatorio para la Protección de los Defensores de Derechos Humanos (Organización Mundial contra la Tortura – OMCT y Federación Internacional para los Derechos Humanos – FIDH)
– Oficina Internacional de Derechos Humanos Acción Colombia – OIDHACO
– Peace Brigades International – PBI – Proyecto Colombia
– Plataforma por la Paz y los Derechos Humanos en Colombia
– Protection International
– Solicitors’ International Human Rights Group
– Taula Catalana per la Pau i el Drets Humans a Colòmbia
– United Steelworkers – USW
– United Church of Christ Justice and Witness Ministries
– US Office on Colombia

– USOC

– War on Want
– WOLA

download der gemeinsamen Erklärung:

Joint declaration