COLOMBIA. 1500 political and war prisoners start a hunger strike

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In the coming demonstration for the more than 10 thousand political prisoners in Colombian jails, different activities will take place in the country, along with a hunger strike of nearly 1500 of them, of indefinite duration, in 6 different prisons, with the goal of making their issues visible.

By Miguel Angel Beltrán / Source: Contagioradio / The Dawn / October 14, 2015

Professor Miguel Ángel Beltrán, spokesperson of the political prisoners, said that the first claim is for the visibility of political crimes, political prisoners, because in Colombia the idea of political crime has been blurred and the prisoners are catalogued under different offenses “such as terrorism”. Some are held by judicial montages and some are prisoners of war, who have been captured in combat. “We are more than 10,000”, Beltrán says.

The second claim is for health, which according to Professor Beltran is “in an very complicated state in all prisons of the country” because “there is no medical attention and discrimination against political prisoners is very common”, because “the jail system conceives them as political enemies”. Beltrán mentioned cases like Virviescas, who has lost 85% of his vision because of the jail system’s and the health company’s negligence.

The third requirement revolves around the extradition, on which Professor Beltran said that it is a “violation of national sovereignty”, since the Colombian “can not be judged by other systems of justice” and in these foreign prisons “their rights are violated”.

A hunger strike will be held beginning today by the political prisoners, along with various activities at the National University of Colombia and the Center for Memory, Peace and Reconciliation. All this is done in order to “vindicate the position that political prisoners now live in and the Colombian policies”, calling for society to “be take part in the different events for our freedom because we are victims of the Colombian armed conflict” said Professor Miguel Ángel Beltrán.

Miguel Ángel Beltrán was accused in 2014 of being the “Jaime Cienfuegos”, ideologue of FARC’s International Commission, and he was sentenced by the Criminal Chamber of the Superior Court of Bogotá to 100 months in prison for the crime of rebellion. This took place after being acquitted of the same case in 2011.

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