Bogotá, February 23, 2011
The Rural Community of Tame in Arauca Is Intimidated With Illegal Interrogations and False Testimony
(Translated by Stacey Schlau, a CSN Volunteer Translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, a CSN Volunteer Editor.)
The community in the neighborhood of Caño Camame and Caño Temblador in the rural area of Tame, Arauca, told Humanidad Vigente [Humanity in Action] of their concern and fear due to the presence of people escorted by military personnel who, since the end of January 2011, have been going door to door conducting interviews in the name of the Defensoría del Pueblo [People’s Defender’s Office], without presenting identification.
Towards the end of January, persons dressed as civilians arrived in the area in a military helicopter, escorted by the military personnel attached to Mobile Brigade 5, who are quite visible and who patrol this place. They visited several houses in which people who had given interviews to the Fiscalía General de la Nación [federal Attorney General’s office] and who are potential witnesses to what occurred on October 2 and 14, 2010: that is, two girls were raped by a soldier and one, along with her two brothers, was assassinated. These facts are still being investigated.
These people, dressed as civilians and wearing camouflage jackets, told the people of the town that they were from the Defensoría del Pueblo in Bogotá. However, they refused to show identification that would prove that they were officials of that office.
Following that, the supposed officials of the Defensoría began to take exhaustive and incisive testimony regarding what the people knew of Jenny’s rape and her subsequent murder, as well as the murders of her brothers Jimmy and Jefferson. All three were minors. These interrogations were recorded, some on tape and others in writing.
At the same time, during the interviews these people constantly asked about one of the direct victims of this incident, the girl who testified to being raped on October 2 and whose testimony led to the identification and capture of sub-Lt. Raúl Muñoz. He is currently being investigated by the Prosecutor’s Office 51, a branch of the office of Human Rights.
In addition, the people of the townships testified that several soldiers who patrolled the area during the time that the two girls and two boys became victims, in October of 2010, continue to be seen in the [same] neighborhoods, making comments and giving false testimony about the crimes against the boys and girls of Tame, creating confusion in the inhabitants of the affected communities.
Humanidad Vigente calls on the Defensoría del Pueblo to respond to the formal complaints made by the communities in this area. It is essential to find out if those men were truly officials of the Defensoría. Even before this, the reason should be clarified as to why they were not clearly identified, with the blue vest with the logo of their agency; why they were travelling in military vehicles; and above all, why they conducted intimidating interviews with the community.
If the name of the agency has been abused by military personnel dressed as civilians, we demand that the Defensoría del Pueblo make a strong statement and take all necessary measures to ensure that the Army does not carry out the functions of the Judicial Police, illegally interrogating people in the communities.
Finally, we demand that the other judicial agencies, such as the Procuraduría[federal internal affairs agency] and the Fiscalía, as well as the international community, mass media, human rights organizations, and public opinion in general, investigate and make statements that would prevent the peasants of Tame from continuing to be victims of abuses carried out by state institutions, especially the Armed Forces.
THE INTEGRAL WELLBEING OF RURAL GIRLS PROJECT
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