Free Liliany Obando - Human Rights Defender - Colombia

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Urgent protests are required to support Liliany Obando a sociology lecturer who is a human rights activist. She was accused of 'rebellion' and arrested in August 2008 as a way of silencing her criticism of the current political and economic situation in Colombia. We are calling on our supporters to send protests calling for due process to be followed and release from detention.

Dr. DEBORA USECHE, Chief Judicial Office

Bogota Women’s Prison


Dear Dr. Useche

In reference to case of: LILIANY PATRICIA OBANDO VILLOTA C.C. 30.7345.041

Concerning: Favorable resolution of petition for Conditional Liberty 

I have become familiar through the legal team and through various human rights NGO’s, both national and international, of the situation of human rights defender Liliany Patricia Obando Villota. She remains deprived of her freedom in arbitrary fashion even though she has completed three fifths of the sentence imposed on her and thereby has gained the right to enjoy “conditional liberty,” or parole.

I am concerned that:

Since August, 2014 the citizen’s lawyer and she herself have petitioned the “Seventh Court of Implementation of Penalties and Security Measures” asking that she be granted conditional liberty.

The Seventh Court for Implementation of Penalties and Security Measures, on at least three occasions, has required that the Office of Women’s Imprisonment in Bogota provide documentation that, according to Colombian penal legislation, is necessary for such liberty to be granted.

The Tenth Civil Circuit Court, in the Tutela decision of October 28, 2014 ordered that within a term of ten days a “clear, precise, and thorough” response be made regarding the aforementioned situation. It referred to the fact that the request had been ignored and that a Judge of the Republic had been disregarded.  Otherwise their office would have proceeded in prompt fashion.

In a meeting on December 18, 2014 with the deputy director of that entity (Women´s Imprisonment) Dr. Aldemar Echeverry and with representatives of several NGO’s, congresspersons, and lawyers representing Liliany Obando, a commitment was made to accomplish the foregoing. Nevertheless, that commitment has only been fulfilled partially.

Your office sent material dated December 23 – 24, 2014 that contained part of the documentation mentioned above, but still you refuse to send a Favorable Resolution, one that would take into consideration the time that Citizen Liliany Obando was confined in that establishment as a matter of Preventative Detention; that is to say, from August 8, 2008 to the date of her release on Provisional Liberty, March 1, 2012. That is the essential information required for Citizen Liliany Obando to be granted Conditional Liberty. 

Article 471 of the Code of Criminal Procedure establishes that:

“A sentenced person found to be in circumstances anticipated in the Criminal Code may seek conditional liberty from the Judge of Implementation of Penalties and Security Measures as an adjunct to a favorable resolution by the disciplinary council, or lacking that, by the director of the respective prison establishment (The commas and underlining are mine).”

Take into account furthermore that the aforementioned petition has been up in your office since August, 2014.

At the time of this petition, we observe with much concern the persistent and systematic way that the rights of due process of the aforementioned citizen have been violated. She finds herself under House Arrest since August 5, 2014, as ordered by the Ninth criminal Court of the Bogota Special Circuit and confirmed by the Bogota Superior Tribunal – the criminal division – and executed by the Seventh Court of Implementation of Penalties and Security Measures. It’s a situation with which you are quite familiar.

It’s clear now, with the facts given here, that that office has not sent all the required documentation for Conditional Liberty. Now not only is the right to freedom, personal integrity, due process, and a trial accepted as just being violated, but such a failing skirts norms of the Criminal Statute. One such is Fraudulent Judicial Resolution, as established under Article 454. Its text reads: “one in any way evading fulfillment of an obligation imposed under Judicial Resolution will incur imprisonment for one to four years and fine of from 5 to 50 times the current minimum salary.” 

In regard to the foregoing, it also takes on possible characteristics of behavior subject to discipline as established under Article 27 of Lay 734 of 2001, the Unified Disciplinary Code.

This may be the occasion to remind you that the Honourable Constitutional Court approximately 14 years ago declared, through Ruling T-153/98, that there exists in Colombian Prisons “a state of unconstitutional affairs.” It results from a series of factors that violate and adversely affect human rights and human dignity of those persons deprived of their liberty. In homage to Rules and Basic Principles governing prison and penitentiary systems at the international level, these circumstances must be ended.

It’s likewise necessary for you to recall your duty to honour decisions of the Judges of the Republic under penalty of incurring responsibilities of a disciplinary and criminal nature through your non-observance. 

On account of all of this, I lend support to the petition various personalities and prisoner support organizations have sent to your office, specifically the one demanding that the document on a Favourable Resolution be sent to the competent judge.  That document is necessary in order to fulfill requirements through which the aforementioned citizen may be granted Conditional Liberty.

Urgent action is required and demanded.




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