London, 14 November 2019
Justice for Colombia statement in response to threats against human rights lawyer Diego Martinez
Justice for Colombia (JFC) is appalled by the latest threats made against Colombian human rights lawyer Diego Martinez. Mr. Martinez is an internationally recognised human rights lawyer and has been working as a legal advisor to the FARC in relation to the Colombian peace process.
Currently, Mr Martinez is representing the family of murdered former FARC combatant Dimar Torres. Five members of the Colombian Army are under investigation for the killing. The Colombian Defence Minister Guillermo Botero also recently resigned from his post over a series of scandals which included the death of Mr Torres.
On Sunday 10 November, Mr Martinez received a WhatsApp message signed with the name of the Black Eagles. The message made threats to legal representatives of former guerrillas testifying to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, the transitional justice mechanism established in the peace agreement. The threatening message warned that ‘the war continues and you are going to see the results’.
Mr. Martinez has been the victim of numerous death threats as a result of his work in support of peace and human rights in Colombia. He was also recently denied travel to the Interamerican Commission of Human Rights in the United States after he was refused entry onto a flight by the airline staff in Bogota. He was told the US Embassy had advised the airline not to let him travel.
JFC and Mr Martinez have worked closely together for many years. Numerous British and Irish politicians and trade unionists have met with him during visits to Colombia and in 2014, JFC hosted Mr Martinez in Ireland, where he met with government representatives and attended the biennial conference of the Irish Congress of Trade Unions.
JFC offers its full support and solidarity to Mr. Martinez and calls on the Colombian authorities to ensure that he and all human rights lawyers working with former FARC combatants are able to carry out their work with full guarantees.