International Figures Write to Santos: Release Liliany
News from Colombia |
on: Tuesday, 9 August 2011
A number of international figures who have met political prisoner and trade unionist Liliany Obando have written to President Juan Manuel Santos on the 3rd anniversary of her unjust imprisonment to demand her release.
Ms Obando continues to be imprisoned despite the fact that the main evidence being used against her has been discredited by the supreme court in a separate case. She has also been moved to a more isolated yard in retaliation for highlighting the abuses committed against prisoners.
The signatories met Liliany while on JFC delegations to Colombia during which some of them also met Juan Manuel Santos.
The text of the letter follows below:
President Juan Manuel Santos
C/o Ambassador to Colombia
3 Hans Crescent
8th August 2011
Dear President Santos,
We are writing to you today, on the 3rd anniversary of the unjust imprisonment of political prisoner Liliany Obando to call for her immediate release.
Ms. Obando was accused of ‘rebellion’ and jailed on 8th August 2008, and has since been held in Buen Pastor Prison Bogota, without being convicted of any crime.
We, the undersigned, have all met Ms Obando during her incarceration and have been following her case closely. She has faced numerous injustices and her case has been characterised by a fundamental lack of due process. She has also been subjected to physical and mental abuse. Ms. Obando’s commitment to defending human rights is clear to us. We believe her ongoing imprisonment is politically motivated, as is the case with so many other critics of the Colombian regime locked up today.
We know that Ms. Obando has been denied house arrest on eight consecutive occasions, despite being a single mother with two young children. We understand Ms. Obando’s legal process has suffered severe delays incurred by the Colombian authorities, and continues to do so. We are also aware that evidence from a separate case that is also being used against Ms. Obando has been ruled inadmissible by the Colombian Supreme Court.
We have written to the Colombian authorities repeatedly regarding these issues, yet we have seen no evidence of action taken by the Colombian State to guarantee Ms. Obando’s fundamental rights.
On this day, three years since her unjust imprisonment, we urge you once more – please release Ms. Obando immediately, as her innocence demands.
We look forward to hearing from you with progress in this matter,
Stephen Cavalier, CEO, Thompsons Solicitors
Kat Craig, Christian Kahn Solicitors
Luke Crawley, Deputy General Secretary, BECTU
Ian Davidson MP
Ben Davis, International Affairs Director, United Steel Workers of America
Jeremy Dear, former General Secretary, National Union of Journalists
David Drever, President, Educational Institute of Scotland
Simon Dubbins, Director of International Department, Unite the Union
Jeff Ennis, former MP
Ana Gomes MEP
Sam Gurney, Policy Officer TUC and ILO Governing Body Member
Billy Hayes, General Secretary, CWU
Richard Howitt MEP
Glenn Jackson, Executive Committee, Unite the Union
Eric Joyce MP
Jim Kennedy, National Political Officer, UCATT
Peter Kilfoyle, former Minister of Defence
Adam Lee, International Officer, United Steel Workers of America
Andy Love MP
Mark Lyons, Vice Chair, Executive Committee, Unite the Union
Jim McGovern MP
Denise McGuire, President, UNI World Women’s Committee
Sarah Merrill, Parliamentary Officer
Madeleine Moon MP
John O’Neil, Thompsons Solicitors
Sandra Osbourne MP
Stephanie Peacock, NUT member
Jyrki Raina, General Secretary, IMF
Fred Redmond, Vice President, United Steelworkers of America
Ben Richards, International Officer, Unite the Union
Mark Rowlinson, Counsel, United Steel Workers Canada
Jim Sheridan MP
Joanna Stevens, Thompsons Solicitors
Agnes Tolmie, Executive Committee, Unite the Union
Spencer Wood, OH Parsons Solicitors
Tony Woodhouse, Chair, Executive Committee, Unite the Union