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Further death threats against members of CREDHOS
Front Line Defenders / Sábado 4 de febrero de 2012

Members of Corporación Regional para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos - CREDHOS (Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights) have received further death threats.

CREDHOS provides training and education on human rights issues and International Humanitarian Law, and collects complaints regarding human rights violations and crimes against humanity committed by paramilitary groups and members of the security forces, particularly those relating to extrajudicial killings in the region.

On 1 February 2012, at approximately 8:00 am, Mr Wilfran Cadena, a board member of CREDHOS, arrived at the organisation’s office in Barrancabermeja and found threatening leaflets that had been posted through the main door. The leaflets, which had been signed by the Comandos Urbanos (Urban Commands), contained statements accusing all members of CREDHOS of being guerillas and stated that as a result they would to be killed. The leaflets also said that all the activities of the organisation were being monitored.

The threats referred to the imprisonment of CREDHOS member David Rabelo Crespo, calling him a guerilla and accusing his cousin, María Rabelo Grimaldo, of teaching his ideas in the neighbourhoods of Barrancabermeja and warning her to cease her activities or else she and her family would be killed.

At approximately 8:15 pm that evening, María Rabelo Grimaldo’s daughter, Anny Lizeth Vera Rabelo, was intercepted by two men on motorbikes as she was leaving work. They gave her a leaflet and told her to tell her mother to stop her “juegito” (little game).

These incidents come in the context of an ongoing campaign of intimidation, threats and harassment of members of CREDHOS, which Front Line Defenders believes is directly related to their human rights activities. On the 13 January 2012, Abelardo Sánchez Serrano, a member of the board of directors of CREDHOS, was threatened with death at gunpoint as he was travelling to CREDHOS offices. For further information see the Front Line Defenders urgent appeal dated 19 January 2012.

Front Line Defenders reiterates its call on the authorities in Colombia to take all necessary measures to guarantee the physical and psychological integrity and security of all members of CREDHOS and to guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Colombia are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.