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Tuesday, 19 July 2016 15:01

Prisoners in La Picota on peaceful and indefinite protest

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Colombian prisoners in row 4 of the medium-security penitentiary and metropolitan prison complex in Bogota, La Picota have released a communique in which they inform “the national and international public opinion that on this day, July 19, we begin a peaceful and indefinite civil disobedience action”.

The protest was prompted by “the deep and prolonged crisis in the health service - write the prisoners - that submits to torture and death penalty prisoners all around the country”.

In their statement the prisoners underlined to be “Tired, angry, anxious and desperate given the lack of solutions to the exponential growth of the state of unconstitutional things suffered by tens of thousands of people held in Colombian jails, aggravated by the bad or nonexistent provision of health services within the prison system”.

For this the prisoners “decided not to wait for death with resignation. Day after day we see how deteriorates and breaks the health of thousands of human beings buried behind bars: they seem to have no value to the Colombian State, and we see week after week as few of those lives vanish anonymous and silent, with impunity”.

In their statement the prisoners request a meeting to agree on measures of comprehensive health care of each and every one of the chronic ill, terminally ill prisoners among others. They also request the presence at the meeting of the following people and institutions: Health Minister, Minister of justice and law, Director General of INPEC, Director General Health INPEC, Human Rights Commission of the Senate, the International Red Cross, MAPP-OEA, the General Attorney's Office, Ombudsman,  Solidarity Legal Corporation,  Legal Brigade Eduardo Umaña Mendoza

The prisoners underlined that “will must not only be words but deeds” and recalled how “last November 22, 2015, the Government announced pardoning for 30 FARC-EP prisoners. A pardon given with delays and setbacks but the worst is that once released, their health situation did not improved quite the opposite”.

This is why those former prisoners “will also joined the protest to show Colombia and the world the true will of peace shown by the government and also to deny statements by which "the pardoned are kept as kings and benefit of all social guarantees of law."

The prisoners finally called to “all prisons in the country to join the protest to achieve, through a just and dignified struggle, what is rightfully ours. We are not begging for anything, we did not ask for mercy, we just want to be treated as human beings”.

Should no satisfactory results to these requests, the prisoners announced they will increase their disobedience action and will stitch their mouth. The statement has been signed by the political prisoners of the FARC-EP and common prisoners of row 4, La Picota Bogota.


Read the full communique in Spanish here

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