Trade unionist and Patriotic March member detained in Cauca

Justice For Colombia News | on: Saturday, 20 October 2012

On 14th October Rigoberto Guarín Vallejo was detained by soldiers of the Colombian army’s 29th Mobile Brigade, at a roadblock in the municipality of Corinto. Once arrested he was taken to the nearby police station, and accused of “rebellion” “conspiracy to commit a crime”, “homicide” and “use of funds for terrorist purposes”.

Rigoberto is the President of ASTRACOL, the Workers’ Association of Cauca, and a member of the Patriotic March advisory body in Cauca. He was arrested while travelling to market with his young son.

Rigoberto’s case is yet another example of state persecution against trade unionists and other members of the political opposition and is one in a series of false accusations and detentions. Indeed, according to the NGO Human Rights Network of the South West of Colombia tens of other leaders in the region have been arrested and falsely accused of “rebellion” and “terrorism” in cases in which the Colombian state has drawn on the testimonies of a known group of unreliable witnesses. Members of the Patriotic March have faced similar persecution across Colombia.

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