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Issue #1521      5 October 2011

Senior UK figures call for release of Liliany Obando

Over 100 British parliamentarians, lawyers and trade unionists have called for the immediate release of Colombian trade unionist, human rights defender and academic, Liliany Obando, who has been imprisoned since August 8, 2008 without being convicted of any crime. Ms Obando is currently held in a high security yard of the Buen Pastor (Good Shepherd) prison in Bogota, where she is allowed to exercise outdoors once a week for an hour.

The petition addressed to President Santos has been signed by Lords and MPs from all three major UK political parties, including some members of the governing coalition. Over 40 UK lawyers and the leaders of all the major UK trade unions also added their names. Their statement says, “Ms Obando has been jailed for her political beliefs rather than for any crime; she is being deprived of her liberty in order to silence her and discourage others like her from speaking out about human rights abuses.”

Steve Cavalier, CEO of Thompsons Solicitors and a signatory to the letter has said, “Liliany has been in prison for more than three years without being convicted of any crime. This is unacceptable under international standards. The Santos government has done nothing to stop this injustice despite claiming to respect human rights.”

Tony Lloyd MP, former UK foreign minister and Chair of the Parliamentary group Friends of Colombia, has said, “We know that in Colombia there are hundreds of cases like that of Liliany Obando, innocent people who are imprisoned by the Colombian authorities as a means to silence them. The international community must bring pressure to bear on the Colombian state to put an end to these most gross injustices.”  

Next article – Grand final weekend for the Freedom of the Cuban Five in Perth

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