HRDs being interviewed by journalists


Colombian defender David Ravelo: 5 years in prison

17 February 2016

While evidence of his innocence outweighs the allegations against him, Mr. Ravelo remains in detainment. There is little integrity in his conviction, starting with the dependability of the two paramilitary witnesses. Throughout Mr. Ravelo’s trial, these two witnesses contradicted themselves and the more than 30 testimonies from other individuals in the city of Barrancabermeja presented information that the two witnesses were lying. These witnesses were later sentenced to 20 years in prison themselves for the massacre committed on the 16th of May 1998 in Barrancabermeja. Further, the lead prosecutor, William Pacheco Granados, was not qualified to prosecute this investigation as he was sentenced to one year in prison in 1993 by a military court for the disappearance of a man in Armenia. Columbian law states that this disqualifies Mr. Pacheco Granados from employment as a prosecutor. Since then, Mr. Pacheco Granados has resigned.

Behind bars, Mr. Ravelo has continued to serve as a human rights defender for other prisoners. Through his quest to defend other’s rights, he has received constant death threats against him and his family.

In 2013, the Bar Human Rights Committee of the Bar of England and Wales (BHRC) presented an Amicus Curiae before the Superior Court of Santander (Colombia) for the case of Mr. Ravelo, highlighting the lack of compliance with national and international standards of due process. Recently the Human Rights and Democracy Network has brought Mr. Ravelo’s case back into the spotlight, and together with organizations including Protection International, the quest to reveal David Ravelo’s innocence continues.