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Thu Sep 11, 2014, 12:49 AM

The Real Agenda Behind the Detention of David Ravelo

September 10, 2014
The Real Agenda Behind the Detention of David Ravelo

A Colombian Prisoner of Empire

by W.T. WHITNEY Jr.

David Ravelo, arrested on September 14, 2010, is confined to Bogota’s enormous La Picota prison. Clearly innocent of any crime, he received an 18-year sentence. Ravelo relied on independent political thought, action, and courage to oppose Colombia’s oligarchic, militarized, U. S. backed regime. Having attracted considerable attention, he was as vulnerable to persecution as any of Colombia’s 9500 political prisoners. .

Ravelo had always lived and worked in gritty, oil-producing Barrancabermeja – famous for labor radicalism.

Now almost a year after his appeal failed, a year when even Colombia’s leftist media seemed to lose interest in his case, Ravelo returns to the news. In late August the Bar Human Rights Committee of England and Wales (BHRC) submitted an amicus curiae report on his case to Colombia’s Supreme Court, having submitted a similar report a year earlier. The José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective, whose members are defending Ravelo, noted on its website that, “the Supreme Court has the opportunity to do justice in a case of obvious persecution against a defender of human rights in Colombia.”

This amicus curiae report advances the legal doctrine of “annulment” of an erroneous conviction and sentencing. “Amicus curiae” refers to a group or individual offering an opinion to a court but not a party to the proceedings.

The British lawyers’ action puts the spotlight on international solidarity. The need for new ways to make solidarity efforts more effective shows up in the intransigence of authorities holding Colombian political prisoners and prisoners in the United States like Oscar López Rivera from Puerto Rico and the three remaining Cuban Five prisoners, and indeed prisoners all over.

A remarkable display of international solidarity unfolded on September 1 as Kirsty Brimelow, BHRC international litigation head, and Reinaldo Villalba of the Restrepo group held a joint news conference in Bogota to discuss Ravelo’s case. The YouTube rendition of the conference has Villalba reminding viewers that Ravelo led the fight against right-wing paramilitary domination in Barrancabermeja, also that the charge against him of involvement in the 1991 murder of a municipal official rested entirely on accusations by two paramilitary chieftains. These were serving long prison sentences because Ravelo had implicated them in the 1998 massacre of 32 people in Barrancabermeja. The state evidently took advantage of their lust for vengeance.

More:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/10/a-colombian-prisoner-of-empire/

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