A group of British members of parliament on Tuesday called on Colombia to free “political prisoners.”
The parliamentarians posed for photographs holding images of prisoners they claim have been unfairly imprisoned. The group spoke about trade unionists Rosalba Gaviria and Lilany Obando, human rights defenders David Ravelo and Carmelo Agamez, and university professor Dr Miguel Angel Beltran.
“These people are innocent men and women who have been imprisoned simply because they disagree with the Government or criticise Government policies. The Colombian authorities have to understand that jailing people in order to silence their opinions is completely unacceptable,” said Jim McGovern MP, in an official press release.
“So long as the regime in Bogota continues to jail trade unionists, human rights activists and other civil society leaders, the UK should not have normal relations with Colombia. President Santos must understand that the international community will not stand by in silence whilst his Government treats opponents in this way,” stated Jim Sheridan MP, another parliamentarian who participated in the action.
In the first week of November more than 1,000 British academics signed an open letter to President Santos demanding the release of Beltran, who has been imprisoned apparently without being convicted of any crime since May 2009.
Colombia has more than 5,000 “political” prisoners according to NGO Justice for Colombia, many of whom have been imprisoned for “rebellion.”