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Lawyers without frontiers: Colombian fears

British lawyers must continue to support their Colombian counterparts faced with death threats for trying to defend human rights, says Sara Chandler

7 July 2009

Extraordinary revelations during the trial of the head of the Colombian secret intelligence force on 14 June 2009 have substantiated reports of the systematic harassment of human rights lawyers in Colombia. Four Colombian human rights lawyers well known to UK lawyers are among a large group of Colombian citizens who have been the subject of a secret operation by the G-3 Group inside the DAS – the Colombian intelligence service.

In October 2005, Zoraya Gutierrez addressed a human rights seminar at the opening of the Legal Year in London. She told of how she had received a terrifying threat to the life of her seven-year-old daughter. She received a doll covered in red paint in May 2005 together with a note: “You have a beautiful daughter, do not sacrifice her.”

Ms Gutierrez is a member of the human rights lawyers’ chambers CCAJAR (Jose Alvear Restrepo group). A dossier before the court in the trial of former DAS head General Jorge Noruega gives details of the in...

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