I had never imagined that a public trial could be held in such a small place. 13 people – including the judge, the prosecutor, the lawyers, the police and the accused, David Ravelo – in a space of less than 12 metres square. Continue reading A surreal hearing
Fr. Alberto of the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission describes the situation for the Nonam community, currently living in difficult conditions in Buenaventura after having displaced from their lands.
The first thing I notice after disembarking from the canoe that carried me across the Curbaradó River and scrambling up the bank are palm oil trees. Continue reading Protecting their mother: Afro-Colombians fight to reclaim their land from palm oil
A couple of weeks ago I was all set to attend my second criminal hearing in Colombia, though this time accompanying the defense lawyer, not a lawyer on the prosecution side (representing the victims is a role permitted in the Colombian justice system), as I did in 2010 in the San Jose de Apartado massacre case. Now, two is more attempts later, I’m seeing first hand some of the frustrations that many human rights lawyers have expressed about the Colombian judicial system. Continue reading Justice… delayed
My first accompaniment as a PBI volunteer, with the Fundación Comité de Solidaridad con los Presos Políticos (Foundation Committee in Solidarity with Political Prisoners) in February of this year to the maximum security prison in Valledupar, remains the most shocking and powerful experience I´ve had in Colombia. I´ll do my best to describe the experience here, but I remember how words failed me when I returned to our office in Bogota and attempted to write up a report on the accompaniment. Continue reading The horrors of the maximum security prison in Valledupar