Serious threats made against lawyer in Colombia

Who we wrote to

The president of the Republic of Colombia.

What’s the issue

Along with the Bar Council, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada (LRWC), Lawyers for Lawyers and the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC), we're very concerned about the situation of the lawyer Daniel Prado, who currently represents victims of crimes committed by the paramilitary group The 12 Apostles.

The Attorney General’s office opened investigations into the murders and disappearances committed by this group between 1988 and 1997 in the North of Antioquia. Criminal proceedings are ongoing against one of the group’s alleged founders, Santiago Uribe Velez, and several other defendants before the Juzgado Primero Especializado de Antioquia. 

Although final submissions were expected to be made between 3 and 7 December 2018, we understand that proceedings have been adjourned until April 2019.

Throughout the course of these criminal proceedings, Mr Daniel Prado has been subjected to serious intimidation, including:

  • death threats
  • being followed by armed men after attending court hearings
  • defamatory public statements against him by high ranking public officials

The statements contribute to Mr Prado’s safety risks by fueling hostility and encouraging reprisals.

Mr Prado has been granted precautionary measures by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which found that the requirements of urgency, gravity and irreparability had been met. We understand that, although the Unidad Nacional de Protección provided him with a car as a security measure, the car's windows do not have fortified glass. This means the vehicle does not provide adequate protection.

We’re also concerned that these threats against Mr Prado are taking place within the context of an environment which is witnessing an increasing number of attacks on lawyers and human rights defenders in Colombia, after the signing of the peace agreement between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

What we asked for

We respectfully urge the relevant authorities to:

  • investigate promptly and effectively all threats and acts of intimidation and harassment against Daniel Prado and ensure that such acts are not repeated
  • provide adequate security measures to ensure Mr Prado’s personal safety and physical integrity (in consultation with Mr Prado and in compliance with the precautionary measures ordered by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights)
  • comply with Colombia’s international obligations to ensure that Mr Prado and other members of the legal profession can carry out their professional duties without harassment and improper interference