Political Prisonerís daughter subject to intimidation

News from Colombia | on: Monday, 11 April 2011

Trade unionist Aracely Canaveral Velez was imprisoned on 17th January 2011. Since then, her daughter, Eliana Betancourt, has been followed, harassed and threatened.

Aracely is a leading figure in the Informal Workers’ Union, ASOTRACOMERCIANT, a CUT affiliate. She is also the coordinator of NEPO – a trade union and community education school in Medellin. Aracely is accused of “rebellion” and is detained in San Diego Women’s Prison, Cartagena, far from her family in Medellin. The Public Prosecutor in her case described Aracely as 'dangerous' and claimed that trade unions were front organisations for the guerrillas.

On 24th January 2011 after a visit to see her mother in prison, Aracely’s daughter, Eliana, was threatened by a man on a motorbike, who tried to persuade her to get on the bike and then told her “Be careful, this is how they disappear and rob people”. For the following month she was then subjected to surveillance, once by a man in military uniform, subsequently by the same man wearing civilian clothing. On the 24th February 2011 she was followed after dropping her son at nursery. This last incident is particularly concerning given that it also puts the safety of Ms. Betancur’s four year old son at risk.

There have been numerous cases where political prisoners and their relatives have suffered threats and intimidation. Families often lead the campaigns for the freedom of their loved-ones, and as a result, suffer intimidation and harassment.

To support the campaign to free Aracely, please visit the political prisoners’ campaign page.



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