(Translated by Deryn Collins, a CSN Volunteer Translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, CSN’s Volunteer Editor.) 

DAVID RABELO, recognized human rights defender in the Colombian area of Magdalena Medio, was deprived of his liberty under a particular legal proceedings process against him. His capture came after an increase in threats and harassments against him. Even though all kinds of declarations have been made by international and national Human Rights Organisations, public denouncements, letters sent to the government, videos, news items and other actions about his risky situation, this human rights defender has become the victim of new aggressions.

Campaign “Por el Derecho a Defender los Derechos Humanos en Colombia” – (Human Rights Law in Colombia)

September 2010 

Once more, a human rights defender in Colombia has been tried without foundation. On the 14th September at about 3.00pm David Rabelo Crespo was detained in the city of Barrancabermeja by agents of the Cuerpo Técnico de Investigación de la Fiscalía (CTI), He was then driven under heavy guard by the police and agents of the CTI to the airport of Barrancabermeja, Santander to be taken to the Picota Prison in Bogotá. 

David Rabelo Crespo is a member of the Junta Directiva de la Corporación Regional para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos (CREDHOS) and is a member of the Movimiento de Víctimas de Crímenes de Estado (MOVICE) Capítulo Magdalena Medio. David Rabelo was twice a town councilor of the city of Barrancabermeja representing the Unión Patriótica Party, he participated as a delegate for the Human Rights Organizations of Magdalena Medio before the Mesa Nacional de Garantías, and he is also a member of the Polo Democrático Alternativo and the Central Committee of the Colombian Communist Party.  


David Rabelo is currently being charged with criminal conspiracy and aggravated homicide, under the order of the Prosecutor 22 of the Unidad Nacional de Antiterrorismo based on voluntary statements given by the paramilitary Mario Jaimes Mejía, alias “El Panadero.” This paramilitary, a member of the Autodefensas Unidas de Santander y Cesar (AUSAC), was detained in March 1999 and condemned by the normal justice system as being the main person behind the massacres of the 16th May 1998 and the 28th February 1999. Under Law 975 of 2005, looking for judicial benefits to shorten the 40 year sentence to a maximum of 8 years, David Rabelo Crespo was accused of being the instigator of the assassination of the Secretario de Obras Públicas de Barrancabermeja David Nuñez Cala.  
During the judicial process, David Rabelo’s lawyers demonstrated that the times and dates were false and the declarations were a judicial fakery against the human rights defender, and the case was another WITHOUT FOUNDATION highlighted in our campaign as one of the mechanisms used to damage the reputations of the human rights defenders in Colombia. This case was similar to others highlighted by the campaign such as those of Winston Gallego and Carmelo Agamez Berrio.  
David Rabelo has been a victim of systematic persecution for his activities in the defense of human rights in the municipalities of Colombian Magdalena Medio. In the 90s he was accused of rebellion and was declared INNOCENT. In the last few months David Rabelo has been the victim of repeated harassments and threats against his life and the lives of his family:  
– On the June 3, 2010, his son received a mobile phone call from an unknown person informing him that his father had just been assassinated.  
– On May 28, 2010 the human rights defender’s mother-in-law received a phone call stating that the assassination of David Rabelo Crespo had been ordered.  
– On May 7, 2010, the son of David Rabelo Crespo received a phone call in which he was told he should be prepared to attend the funeral of his father. These proven aggressions summarize the threats that arrived by email and pamphlets against human rights defenders, social leaders and organizations of Madgalena Medio in February, April, May and June of 2010, accusing them of backing the guerrillas.  
Before this difficult panorama of aggressions and threats against human rights defenders in Magdalena Medio, international human rights defense organizations such as Front Line and the International Peace Brigade (PBI) sent out information at the time about the case of David Rabelos, transmitting the denouncements to the Colombian Government and internationally. Also it must be pointed out that David Rabelo, as director of CREDHOS, counts upon PREVENTIVE MEASURES OF THE COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS since 2000, measures which continue in vigor.  
For the reasons given before, we ask that the State of Colombia and the competent authorities : 
–        To guarantee the psychological and physical safety of David Rabelo Crespo, of the members of his family and the members of CREDHOS 
–         To solicit full guarantees for the judicial defense of Mr. David Rabelo Crespo, such as protection measures instead of imprisonment, as the reason for his persecution is because of his international and national recognized position as a human rights defender, and as a survivor of genocide against the Unión Patriótica and for being a member of the board of directors of CREDHOS, protected by prevention methods of the CIDH.  
–         To initiate an impartial and exhaustive investigation immediately, into the death threats to David Rabelo Crespo with the end being the identification of those responsible, bringing them before a competent and impartial tribunal and applying the sanctions necessary by law.  
–         To take the necessary steps to widen protection methods and guarantee their effectiveness, including the protection of the family of David Rabelo Crespo. 
–         PWE equally ask that the countries of the European Union, insist that the Colombian National Government voluntarily offer the necessary guarantees and pay special attention to following though this process to assure full guarantees of judicial defense. It is of great importance that members of the Diplomatic Corps are present throughout the trial.


He has worked for 35 years in the defense of human rights. In the first decade, he worked in defense of social, economic and cultural rights, fighting as a student, by suggesting and leading proposals for the direction of education being for the common good, where the poorest people of Barrancabermeja and the region would have equal access and opportunities. He has also worked in the claiming of worker’s rights from social and syndicate mobilization to recognizing our people for their capacity for political fight.  
He has worked for civil and political rights in Barrancabermeja and Magdalena Medio, for the defense of public services and resources: in recent years defending lives although he risked his own, in one or other neighbourhood stigmatized by armed incidents where open wounds remain from an internal armed conflict that continues to take victims.   
This is David Rabelo Crespo, member of the Junta Directiva de la Corporación Regional para la defensa de los Derechos Humanos (CREDHOS); member of the Movimiento de Víctimas de Crímenes de Estado (MOVICE) Capítulo Magdalena Medio; ex -counciller of the city of Barrancabermeja for the Unión Patriótica Party and survivor of the genocide of the UP. He is also a member of the Comité Central del Partido Comunista Colombiano and the Polo Democrático Alternativo. 
He is a man who is involved in the defense of human rights in all its dimensions, a defender recognized by the most important human rights organizations which recognize his dedication to his work and the importance this man for Magdalena Medio. On September 9, 2009, Rabelo received the distinction San Pedro Claver, given by the Dioceses of Barrancabermeja for his work for over 30 years in the defense of human rights in Magdalena Medio and its communities.   
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Por el Derecho a Defender los Derechos Humanos en Colombia

Cuerpo Técnico de Investigación de la Fiscalía (CTI) – Technical Investigation Unit of the Prosecutor (CTI)

Junta Directiva de la Corporación Regional para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos (CREDHOS) – Board of Directors of the Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights (CREDHOS)

Movimiento de Víctimas de Crímenes de Estado (MOVICE) Capítulo Magdalena Medio – the Movement for Victims of Crimes of the Middle Magdalena Mesa

Mesa Nacional de Garantías – State Chapter National Guarantee

Unidad Nacional de Antiterrorismo –  National Counterterrorism Unit

Autodefensas Unidas de Santander y Cesar (AUSAC) – Defense Forces of Santander and Cesar (AUSAC)


This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited. 


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