As International NGO´s and Networks we urge that the Colombian authorities order that David Ravelo be released immediately.

 

On 11th of February last year, the follow up of the demand for annulment of the judicial process against the human rights defender David Ravelo Crespo, member  of the  Regional Corporation  for  the  Defense of Human Rights in Magdalena Medio (CREDHOS), from the city of Barrancabermeja, was filed before the High Court  of Bucaramanga (Santander). In a number of occasions, the International NGOs and networks who have signed below have reiterated concerns regarding a series of irregularities throughout the proceedings which resulted in the conviction of Mr Ravelo and his 220 month prison sentence.

David Ravelo Crespo has been detained since the 14th of September 2010, when he was accused of an aggravated homicide committed  in 1991. We  believe that  in a legal system, it is of fundamental importance  that  certain legal guarantees relating to due process and the right to a fair trial are respected. According to objections these guarantees have been repeatedly violated during the legal process against David Ravelo. For this reason we question the conviction of David Ravelo and reiterate  that David Ravelo has not received the rights and guarantees according to national and international legal norms. Consequently we believe that the case against David Ravelo has been corrupted, therefore he should be released from detention  and receive a fair and impartial trial that provides all the guarantees that have been denied.

Since Mr. Ravelo Crespo has been detained, national and international bodies have highlighted his case and the lack of compliance with national and international standards of due process. On  4  September  2013, the presented   an Amicus Curiae1   in the  case of David Ravel Crespo  before  the  Superior Court of Santander (Colombia).Amongst other considerations the amicus curiae, concludes that the Judiciary should declare the process invalid and that David Ravelo should be absolved because “the conviction of Mr Ravelo was contradictory to the weight of evidence that in this case showed his innocence“.

According  to  defense  lawyers, these  irregularities  have  undermined  the  defense  of  Mr. Ravelo Crespo   and the  integrity of  the  subsequent  conviction. Among these  irregularities, lawyers denounce  the  legitimacy of  the prosecutor   who  led the  investigation: Prosecutor William Pacheco  Granados, from the Prosecutor’s Office no. 22 of the National Counter Terrorism Unit. Mr Pacheco Granados  was previously a lieutenant  in the  National Police in Armenia (Quindío, Colombia) and  was investigated by the  Inspector´s  General  Office (Procuraduría). He was subsequently removed from his post by this authority as a result of his alleged involvement in the  disappearance  of William Hurtado  Parra  in Armenia in 1991.
Furthermore  the defense team for David Ravelo argues that current  legal process is equivalent to a reformulation of previous charges that David Ravelo has already been cleared of, such as the claim that as a member of the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia, he ordered  the assassination of Nuñez Cala. We reiterate  that David Ravelo was imprisoned for 27 months between  1993 and 1995 accused of rebellion, he was tried and cleared of all charges in the first and second stage of proceedings and furthermore  he later won compensation from the state for arbitrary detention.

As International NGO´s and Networks we urge that the Colombian authorities order that David Ravelo be released immediately as well as the admission and processing in a transparent  and effective way of the Cassation appeal put forward by Mr. Ravelo´s defense team.We also urge that all irregularities that have been mentioned since the detention of David Ravelo be investigated and sanctioned according to Colombian Law and relevant international legal standards.

Signed:
- ABColombia (Plataforma de organizaciones de Reino Unido)
- ASK! - Grupo de Trabajo Suizo por Colombia., (Suiza)
- Brigadas Internacionales de Paz –PBI, (Organización Internacional)
- Colombian Caravana UK Lawyers Group (Reino Unido)
- Cooperacció (Estado Español)
- DKA (Austria)
- Frontline Defenders (Irlanda)
- Iniciativa Solidaria Internacionalista (Estado Español)
- Justicia por Colombia (Estado Español)
- Kolko – Derechos Humanos en Colombia (Alemania)
- MISEREOR (Alemania)
- Observatorio  para la Protección de los Defensores de Derechos Humanos OMCT / FIDH (Organización Mundial contra la Tortura – OMCT y Federación Internacional para los Derechos Humanos – FIDH)
- Oficina Internacional de Derechos  Humanos –Acción Colombia - OIDHACO  (plataforma de organizaciones
europeas)
- Paz Christi (Alemania)
- Protection International (Belgica)
- Taula Catalana per la Pau i el Drets Humans a Colòmbia (Estado Español)
- United Steelworkers (Estados Unidos)
- Washington Office on Latin America – WOLA (Estados Unidos)

Contact:
Alexandra Huck - KOLKO, Tel +49-172 166 0346
E-mail: mail@kolko.net

See joint declaration.