Letter in support of Mr. Ivan Cepeda, Colombia

Today myself and a couple of other Members of Parliament send a letter to Mr. Juan Manuel Santos, president of Colombia. The letter is in support of the politician Mr. Ivan Cepeda Castro from the Colombian political opposition party Polo Democrático Alternativo. Mr Cepeda has been under death treath now for a very long time. We the signatories represent three different political parties, The Left Party, The Socialdemocratic party and the Green Party and we are very worried of the situation of Cepeda and many other polititians in opposition. Please find our letter below.

Stockholm, 2 November 2011

Mr. Juan Manuel Santos Calderón
President of the Republic of Colombia
Palacio de Nariño
Bogota – Colombia

Mr. President:
We are writing to you to express our serious concern and ask that you take concrete action regarding the safety of Mr. Iván Cepeda Castro, Member of the Colombian Congress for the opposition political party Polo Democrático Alternativo (PDA), and also regarding the safety of the people who are working with him to carry out important work for democracy and justice in Colombia.

Little by little the Colombian justice system has been clarifying the circumstances of the assassination of Mr. Cepeda’s father, Senator Manuel Cepeda Vargas, who was killed by a paramilitary group on August 9, 1994, upon the orders of a high ranking civil servant from the Department of Administrative Security (DAS), who has recently been sent to jail.

Iván Cepeda Castro, who suffered exile and is a well known Human Rights Defender and founder of the Movement of Victims of State Crimes (MOVICE), recently received various death threats, and suffered an assassination attempt. Mr. José Obdulio Gaviria Escobar, advisor to former President Uribe, recently erroneously stated in an article that Iván Cepeda Castro is a member of the Farc. This kind of smear campaign has often led to human rights defenders being killed in Colombia.

With enormous courage, Mr. Cepeda has handed over to the Colombian justice system and revealed to the public, fundamental testimonies describing how former members of Mr. Uribe’s Government, and Mr. Uribe himself, promoted and worked closely with paramilitary groups.

However, this work, which is essential for the existence of democracy in Colombia, has placed Mr. Ivan Cepeda and those who work with him under enormous danger.

This is why we are asking to you to urgently intervene, in order to ensure that Mr. Cepeda, the witnesses, the lawyers and the judges, who with enormous courage are making progress towards justice and democracy, receive from you, as the highest authority in Colombia, and from your government, clear public support and concrete protection measures, in order to safeguard their physical integrity and their right to live in Colombia.

Please receive, Mr. President, our highest consideration,

Jens Holm, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Hans Linde, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Lars Ohly, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Amineh Kakabaveh, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Mia Sydow Mölleby, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Hillevi Larsson, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Bengt Berg, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Jacob Johnson, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Valter Mutt, Member of Parliament, Sweden
Jabar Amin, Member of Parliament, Sweden