A human rights activist in the conflictive southern Colombian province
of Caqueta was found murdered, the Permanent Committee for the Defense
of Human Rights said Monday.
The committee said that Joel Perez Cardenas on Dec. 8 left the town of
San Vicente del Caguan for the nearby town of Puerto Rico.
had been scheduled to return the same day to San Vicente, added the
committee, which said that two days later in the rural portion of the
town a body was found that proved to be his.
Perez was shot in the head, decapitated and burned, said the committee, adding that the victim’s motorcycle has not been found.
committee said that, according to the testimony of local residents,
“everything points to the fact that this could be a state crime.”
36, was a founder of the Caguan Vive human rights group and had been on
the boards of regional environmental, community and ranchers
The committee said that the murdered activist
belonged to Colombia’s main opposition coalition, the leftist PDA,
which he represented on the San Vicente del Caguan city council.
town was the nucleus of the neutral area that the Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia, or FARC, controlled from the end of 1998 to the
beginning of 2002, when the rebels were pursuing an ultimately
fruitless peace process with the government of then-President Andres