Colombian academic and ex-political prisoner targeted once more

News from Colombia | on: Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The sociology professor and close partner of Justice for Colombia, Miguel Angel Beltran, has been banned from teaching at public universities in a further attempt to silence his criticism of the course of the more than 50 year civil war. Beltran was previously forced to spend over two years in prison on false charges of “rebellion” – he was released after the judge ruled that the evidence in the case against him was flawed. Nevertheless, the state institution responsible for disciplinary measures accused him once more using the same evidence and has now banned him from teaching at public universities.

The decision is the latest in a string of arbitrary decisions made by the Inspector General who is closely aligned to the former president Alvaro Uribe and a further demonstration of the lack of freedom of speech in Colombia. The persecution of the academic began in 2009 when he was arrested in Mexico and deported to Colombia accused of links to the guerrillas. In spite of his innocence he was kept behind bars for two years before being cleared. Since he was released however he has continued to be targeted, recently being deported from the Panama border as he travelled to a conference, and now with this ruling. Students at the university reacted with protests across the campus of the National University where he teaches.

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