Posted by Travis Mannon on Oct 3, 2011 Leave a comment

Colombian soldiers arrested over attacks on unionists

Three senior officers were arrested for alleged attacks against unionists in the west Colombian city of Cali.

According to Colombian media, the investigative division of the Prosecutor General’s Office (CTI) arrested one colonel and two majors for monitoring and attacking members of the Workers Union of Public Companies in Cali (Sintraemcali) as well as human rights defender Berenice Celeyta Alayon and Senator Alexander Lopez Maya.

The three officers are suspected to have conducted illegal intelligence operations on the board of directors of Sintraemcali, as well as making threats on their lives and trying to force them to leave their union.

The illegal operations were reportedly part of Armed Forces “Operation Dragon,” in which security forces threatened and monitored labor unionists in the Valle del Cauca department.

The arrest comes just after recent criticism from international NGO Human Rights Watch, which found that Colombia has made “virtually no progress” in identifying and prosecuting people who attack unionists.