Colombian police arrested David Ravelo on September 10, 2010. He remains in Modelo Prison in Bucaramanga.
Nineteen months have passed, yet this high-profile human rights activist, Colombian Communist Party Central Committee member, and prisoner of conscience, has been convicted of nothing. Prosecutors are using an accusation from a jailed paramilitary chief wanting to please authorities who reduced his long sentence.
With the approach of a judicial hearing now, after earlier postponements, Ravelo’s lawyer wants to be able to show the court copies of letters sent on his client’s behalf from representatives of solidarity organizations or from individuals.
The request for letters appears on the website www.davidravelolibre.org.
A model letter is shown below. Using the email addresses provided, email one to Colombia’s President, the other to the Attorney General. Copy each one beforehand. Mail the two signed letters to David Ravelo’s legal team. The address is: CorporaciÃ³n Colectivo de Abogados "JosÃ© Alvear Restrepo, Edificio Avianca Piso 25, Calle 16, No. 6-66, Bogota D. C., Colombia." Direct the mailing to David Ravelo’s lawyer Alirio Uribe.
David Ravelo, is one of 8000 political prisoners, not including prisoners of war, who languish in Colombian jails. Prisons there, partially funded by the U.S. government are part of a pervasive system of repression, nurtured by the United States, that over decades has caused tens of thousands to be murdered, four million rural inhabitants displaced from land, and 65 percent of the Colombian people living in poverty.
A model letter reads:
Dear President, or Attorney General,
(Name of your organization or of an individual), part of the worldwide movement for release of political prisoners in Colombia, requests that your government release political prisoner David Ravelo Crispo, C.C. No. 13Â´887.558, who, arrested on September 10, 2010, is incarcerated in the Modelo Prison in Bucaramanga.
We note that David Ravelo has been neither tried nor convicted despite imprisonment lasting almost two years. Government prosecutors claim the prisoner is complicit in the murder in 1991 of Barrancabermeja city official David NuÃ±ez Cala. That accusation originates with former paramilitary head Mario Jaimes MejÃa, alias "El Panadero," who, as we understand it, seeks to ingratiate himself with judicial officials in return for reduction of his sentence from 40 years to eight years.
David Ravelo’s record in defending human rights is well known. He has led the CREDHOS human rights group in Barrancabermeja, represented the National Movement for Victims of State Crimes in that region, and was honored by the Catholic Diocese there. Economist David Ravelo served as a city councilman. During the presidency of Alvaro Uribe, he consistently and publically denounced human rights abuses and alliances between government leaders and paramilitaries. As an activist with the Patriotic Union, David Ravelo was jailed in 1992, yet after 27 months was released with a finding of no cause.
Your attention is drawn to the letter British parliamentarian Jim Sheridan sent March 19, 2012 to Colombia’s ambassador in London. On behalf of 80 parliamentary colleagues belonging to the "Friends of Colombia" group, Mr. Sheridan asked for David Ravelo’s release.
Through this communication, (group name or name of individual) respectively asks that the Colombian government release David Ravelo from prison. We are convinced his imprisonment came about as reprisal for his signal contribution to the cause of human rights.
In addition, we recommend your government’s attention to the safety of Mr. Ravelo’s family. On March 8, his son received electronic notification from paramilitaries that he and his young family were "military objectives."
Email one letter to President Juan Manuel Santos Calderon at: email@example.com
Email the other to: Martha Lucia Zamora Ãvila, FiscalÃa General de la NaciÃ³n, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The heading of one letter should read: Juan Manuel Santos Calderon, Presidente de la RepÃºblica, Carrera 8 No. 7 -26 Palacio de NariÃ±o BogotÃ¡
The heading of the other should read: Martha Lucia Zamora Ãvila, FiscalÃa General de la NaciÃ³n, Diagonal 22B No. 52-01 (Ciudad Salitre) BogotÃ¡, D.C.