Colombian political prisoner enters second month of hunger strike

Fight Back! is circulating following two statements from Colombian political prisoners at the infamous U.S.-designed La Tramacúa in Valledupar, Colombia. The first is from Felix Roberto Sanabria, who is entering into the second month of a hunger strike. The second is from the political prisoners of La Tramacúa’s Tower Five. The alerts were provided by Traspasa los Muros – Beyond the Walls: The Permanent Campaign of Solidarity with the Political Detainees (libertadpresxspoliticxs.jimdo.com ).

STATEMENT BEFORE THE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL PUBLIC OPINION

From: The Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC-EP, detained in Tower Five of the maximum security jail “La Tramacúa” in Valledupar, Department of Cesar, Colombia:

We denounce before the national and international public opinion the flagrant and systematic violation of Human Rights within the penitentiary, where they vilify the human being. They torture people, physically and psychologically, practicing multiple methods that come from despising human beings, who are forgotten and totally abandoned, delivered up for frightening and detestable torture, including that which the prisoners call “dry torture”, because it does not cause bleeding. But, yes, it frays the prisoner’s soul. [In its psychological form] it is just as lethal as the physical torture, because it administers permanent doses of moral grief, professionally regulated in order to prolong suffering, without leaving physical tracks. Physically, it proceeds through beatings with sticks, fists, kicks or the indiscriminate use of pepper spray, applied in the eyes, face and genitalia, as also with tear gas in the jails, cells and enclosures with neither ventilation nor water to ameliorate its effects, until it leaves [prisoners] incapacitated for weeks from the torture, and even until it provokes death, as it did in Tower One, Cell 301, with the inmate named PRECIADO, in the year 2000. He was handcuffed, gassed and tortured until it caused him to die, as was proven in the medical and legal examinations, although the report from INPEC (Colombia’s Bureau of Prisons) denies it. On the day of January 30, 2008, in Patio Three, there were 29 gravely wounded who were hospitalized after massive torture with gasses and beatings with clubs, when more than 170 prisoners were opportunely denounced. Even until today not a single responsible person has been captured. These are to cite only a few of the multiple cases that daily present themselves, such as the torture of more than 1,600 prisoners who were left for five days without water in all of the jail. Another method they have used for some time is the famous “scorpion”, that consists in binding the feet to the hands with chains behind the back, leaving [the prisoner] for various hours. The cruelty of some of the jailers is such that they have suspended [prisoners] to hang in this position. 

What we, the rebels and opposition to the repressive regime, hope is that, from the jail, we can confront with dignity and high revolutionary morale the ignominy of a regime that applies a philosophy of torture, hate and vengeance in order to satiate its visceral rancor against the dignity of combatants and revolutionaries who have refused to betray the cause of the poor and the displaced of this country. They have used ex-police, ex-military troops and ex-paramilitary troops to take the place of jailers, as directors, persons in charge, guards, including as administrative and health care personnel—persons with frustrations from the war, who at some point faced the FARC-EP, and today have been reinserted by the state, where, finding themselves in this place, they are able to renew their attacks. They do not only attack the Prisoners of War, but social prisoners that they consider to be in support of the Colombian insurgency. In many cases these are no more than humble workers, students or small farmers, innocent people who were captured in what were truly “fishing expeditions” by President Álvaro Uribe Velez, the “butcher of Colombia”, through his “good old boys”, who have offered such “good services to the nation.”

Within the dictates for these jails on the part of the US Federal Bureau of Prisons that, in practice, is in charge of La Tramacúa, we find the following incoherencies: According to the regulations of Colombia’s new system of incarceration, the prisoner has to be well-shaved at all times and well-groomed, but not given hair cutting machinery, nor is a prisoner permitted to buy them. [Unable to comply], the prisoner is not able to leave the patio for visits with family, nor for interviews with their lawyers, nor for health cares appointments, studies or work. But they will make a disciplinary report for bad conduct.

A similar thing occurs with the uniform and footwear. But if the prisoners are not in compliance with the obliged uniforms and footwear, neither are they able to leave for any function outside of the patio and they are equally sanctioned.

The administration of water is for only 15 or 20 minutes, three times a day, in only six outlets or faucets, for more than 170 inmates in each tower. During this time, they must [collect water to] bathe, wash their clothes, wash their dishes. But in the morning hours, in the same hour that is called personal time, they make us gather together [for daily counting, announcements], and when they have finished, the water is already gone. Besides, they destroy or decommission the plastic receptacles we use to collect water for the rest of the day. Already they have on occasions tortured us for five or six days without a drop of the vital liquid with temperatures that normally fluctuate between 38 or 40 degrees Celsius [100 to 104 Fahrenheit].

Another of the most mentioned aspects of the corruption that ferments in each dependency is that of the workshops that contain a revolving door of machinery and other things, besides what is supposed. But they only allow students and workers access one or two times per month for a period of twenty minutes or half an hour. At the end of the year, they give a certified diploma, on occasions, that is accredited as professional. But the most cynical that they have presented is when there is supervision because officials have arrived to buy furniture and beds. They make a photographic register to present them to beg new orders that they never know when they will finish, since there is no oversight.

They sell cigarettes, but they decommission lighters and sanction whoever has them, according to others, for violating the rules.

There are discounts in the fabrication of handicrafts, but they neither bring them nor permit the required materials to be brought to us.

When we are taken to the sick room, they give everyone the same medicine as if they all suffer the same illness. They give the prescription but not the medications in order to legalize the corruption. They institute guardianship, but in many cases they do not notify us of the resolution.

In order to intensify the situation, during the 14 or 15 hours that we remain daily locked in the cells, they turn on the water to clean the patio or, vice versa, when we are in the patio, they collect us back in the cells so we lose our time and they run water through the hallways without our being able to do anything to avoid or utilize it. Equally, it happens during the night that we hear them cleaning the bathrooms. All this is programmed by the jailers who profess visceral hate for the prisoners. They multiply this hate and vengeance for the prisoners of war. When some NGOs speak out because there is no supply of water, they present measures to control the consumption or supply of water to the towers, thus, with cunning, legalizing the putrefaction that is teeming in the administration.

The methods utilized by the General Directorate of INPEC, with its seat in Bogotá, D.C., are to sabotage the investigations and avoid the sanctions, thus eluding that the prison directors be held responsible. This is constantly revealed. It is thus, that in 24 months, there has been a hodgepodge of seven who have functioned [as directors], in their respective order: Hernando Ríos González, Héctor Carrillo Saavedra, Juan Carlos Calderón Araujo, Imelda López Solórzano, Efraín Cabellos Donado, Capitán Aragón, Leopoldo López Pinzón.

The food service system is one of total indignity, as is publicly known in this graveyard of liberties called “Tramacúa”, since thus it is demanded and oriented by the US Federal Bureau of Prisons, whose doctrine orders the quantity and quality of the food. Only the basic minimum is permitted in order to survive and not die from physical hunger because, according to them, here there are only terrorists and the anti-social, who it is necessary to treat like criminals for whom they cannot provide good meals, so that, in case of a confrontation, fight or struggle with the guards, they would be physically strong to dominate. For this they add the contamination of foods with fecal material, as was proven with laboratory studies recently realized by the Health Ministry of Valledupar, a situation that has been repeatedly denounced by the prisoners’ Committee for Human Rights. Also, it is a constant that the food supplies may be in a state of decomposition—meat with worms, poorly cooked, raw or rotten, and including that on the tablecloth can be seen to swim larva and worms that are submerged in the receptacles the prisoner must use to drink and eat for physical hunger and thirst. And in keeping with this decadent treatment, they bring the meals at inopportune times when the prisoner has many hours without having eaten and thus avoiding that he might protest.

For such reasons, 70% of the population remains sick, with strong illnesses of the stomach-constant diarrhea and vomiting, gastric ulcers, headaches and all kinds of gastrointestinal diseases, making the situation more critical because CAPRECOM, by its protocols of control, only gives one medical date every three months, in order to hand over a packet of salt tablets and some metronidanazol [an antibiotic].

When they punish us up to a week without water, the chaos is total, since there are three toilets for 170 prisoners that in only a short while remain absolutely full of fecal material, obliging us to have to do our physical necessities in the drains of the patio, in the open air and in view of the population because in a site so narrow, there is nowhere and no way to avoid it. 

In order to try to remediate the problem we are obliged to collect the urine in a receptacle, with which one empties themselves or defecates in whatever element so the might empty it through the window when we are in the cells. It is in this way that we are invaded by the flies and that the putrefaction ferments in the sun. Meanwhile the jailers and directors turn deaf ears to the clamor of the prisoners. 

In the Winter, the patios are overflowed because the sewage dos not have the gradient to drain. They remain flooded with a decomposed mud of fecal material that covers various centimeters of thickness. This must be emptied out with jars and with no water to clean anything, having to endure such nauseating odors. There is no attempt to solve the problem. This isn’t torture?….

The methods are multiple utilized to humiliate the prisoner. One of those is impeding the bonds of familial and social unity, harassing the visitors so that they might not return, after an exhaustive investigation with many registrations of data and photos. The submit them to interminable waits in lines lasting hours, in order to effect the most degrading and undignified inspection with morbidity and disrespect. The guards, arguing reasons of security, exceed their functions utilizing a worthless lexicon, and try to paw at our family members’ intimate parts, having technical equipment for the inspection. They make them sit in chairs so that a dog can sniff them. If they do not want some to to be allowed to enter, first they impregnate the chair with the odor of marijuana so that the dog detects it while they film the animal when it gives the positive signal so that they return the visitor without permitting that they might go through solicited x-rays. Then they simply make them lose the goal of their long trip from a far away part of the country.

They cut our telephone system so that we can not talk with lawyers or family. They do not take us to interviews, etc.

It is thus in this “Colombian Guantánamo” they do not exhaust the methods utilized for the systematized repression, because in every office they have express instructions and facilities, to the point that this is the daily way of things. For many it is already normal since, simply, there is nothing to be done to impede it. So it is also how they work with the money in the expense account, and do not enter it into the system to be able to make one’s purchases. The arrogance and the maltreatment they present for all.

Here we expose but a few of the methods utilized by the jailers and hangmen of this graveyard of liberties, of which, outside these walls, the world is ignorant. 

The Prisoners of War of the FARC-EP, inmates of La Tramacúa, assert our political-military struggle as valid methods of the oppressed people to liberate themselves from the chains of the Empire’s reign and from the North American invasion, as also we only obey, respect and faithfully stand behind that which is formed in the statutes, norms, regulations and all that is oriented through our National Secretariat headed by the Comandante Alfonso Cano.

We salute with pleasure all the manifestations of the social and political struggles of the different social sectors and we share in the grief and the rage of the millions of families displaced and dispossessed of their lands and homes of origin; the thousands of families of the victims of the false positives scandal (crimes of the State); and all the victims, of which there are almost 90,000, who are imprisoned in the Colombian dungeons, and, naturally, of the families of our combatant comrades fallen in battle for the construction of the New Colombia, our Great Native Land and Socialism. We have sworn to overcome and we will be victorious over these chains that gag our throats.

 From the jails of the regime, with unbeatable revolutionary morale, we are:

Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War of the FARC-EP, Pavilion 5, Maximum Security Penitentiary of Valledupar, “La Tramacúa”, Department of César-Colombia

August of 2010

TRASPASA LOS MUROS

BEYOND THE WALLS

CAMPAÑA PERMANENTE DE SOLIDARIDAD 

CON LAS DETENIDAS Y LOS DETENIDOS POLÍTICOS – PERMANENT CAMPAIGN OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE POLITICAL DETAINEES

libertadpresxspoliticxs.jimdo.com

S.O.S. – COLOMBIA

POLITICAL PRISONER FELIX ROBERTO SANABRIA’S LIFE IN DANGER

The Campaña “Traspasa Los Muros” – Beyond the Walls Campaign DENOUNCES before the National and International Community the grave risk to the life and personal integrity of the political prisoner FELIX ROBERTO SANABRIA, being held in the torture center called the Penitentiary and Jail of High and Medium Security (EPCASM) of Valledupar – La Tramacúa, in relation to the following: 

FACTS

The 27th of March, 2003, in El Espinal (Department of Tolima), FELIX ROBERTO SANABRIA was captured and processed for being a member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). He was later condemned and was transferred to La Tramacúa on July 10th, 2008, where he is found to be living under subhuman conditions, far from his immediate family.

Since August 19th, 2010, until the present, the political prisoner FELIX ROBERTO SANABRIA has been engaged in a hunger strike, since he and other prisoners have been threatened with death. This is why they demand to be transferred to another jail located where their immediate families reside, and for a special tower to be designated in La Tramacúa where all the political prisoners may be held, separated from the paramilitary and common criminals. These demands are to guarantee the right to life and personal integrity of the political prisoners jailed therein.

As of this date, FELIX ROBERTO SANABRIA has completed twenty-seven days of a hunger strike, losing 13 kilos (28.6 pounds) in weight, which indicates the grave state of health in which he is found. Meanwhile the penitentiary authorities have ignored his petitions despite their justness and provide evidence of the grave and risky situation that the political prisoners suffer in La Tramacúa.

To this denunciation we attach a voice recording obtained from the political prisoner FELIX ROBERTO SANABRIA through which he exposes the situation within. This can be heard by clicking on the following links:

http://www.yousendit.com/download/UFVwVWRwMHc4aU5jR0E9PQ, http://www.yousendit.com/download/UFVwVWRwMHc4aU5jR0E9PQ.

BACKGROUND

On August 18th, 2010, the INPEC (Colombian Bureau of Prisons) functionary with the rank of Captain, ELBER ARAGON, who substitutes as Sub-Director of La Tramacúa, entered Tower Two, accompanied by various guards, launching gas canisters indiscriminately against the prisoners under the excuse of resolving an incident that had developed among them. He then cornered the detainees, obliging them to get on their knees while he hurled humiliating insults at them.

Due to the fact that throughout the penitentiary, the political prisoners are obliged to live with demobilized paramilitaries, this has presented various occurrences of threats against the former, concerning which the penitentiary authorities do not take effective measures of protection. The situation has converted into a time bomb that endangers the life and personal integrity of the political prisoners.

In particular, FELIX ROBERTO SANABRIA has been threatened with death on various occasions and subjected to degrading treatment. At one point he was submitted to an inspection on the part of the INPEC guard in which the Officer Roncon L. demanded that he show his genitals and when he refused, this functionary threatened him with death. These deeds have been reported by the affected to the penal, disciplinary, penitentiary and human rights authorities. However, as of this date, they have not taken the effective measures to protect the rights of the political prisoners in La Tramacúa.

OUR CALL FOR SOLIDARITY 

The facts and background mentioned give evidence to the grave situation to which the political prisoners in La Tramacúa are submitted. The prison obeys an institutional and national policy of demoralization and repression against the political prisoners.

The non-separation of political from paramilitary prisoners in La Tramacúa is not an isolated occurrence. It is a policy of INPEC and the Ministry of Justice in order to submit the political prisoners to the control of the paramilitaries, who, in the jails retain the same power of control and count on the collaboration of the penitentiary guard to provide them with arms and to effect the submission of the other inmates.

INPEC has protested that it cannot separate the political prisoners and the paramilitary prisoners. But there is no reason or justification for this, since the international norms for the treatment of inmates and the Colombian Code for Penitentiaries and Jails establish that detainees must be separated by the kind of crime for which they are detained and sentenced. In this case, the political prisoners are jailed for crimes of and links with rebellion. Meanwhile, the paramilitaries are detained for conspiracy to commit aggravated crimes, which shows the differences of the crimes.

For this, we appeal to your solidarity in backing the following:

PETITIONS

That the Director General of INPEC order the immediate transfer of the political prisoner FELIX ROBERTO SANABRIA to the La Dorada Penitentiary (Department of Caldas), in protection of his fundamental rights TO LIFE, INTEGRITY AND PERSONAL SECURITY, AND NEARNESS TO HIS FAMILY.

That the Ministry of Justice order the Director General of INPEC to designate a Special Tower for the detainment of Political Prisoners in the Penitentiary of Valledupar – La Tramacúa, in guarantee and protection of the fundamental rights TO LIFE, INTEGRITY AND PERSONAL SECURITY of all the Political Prisoners jailed there, and in fulfillment of the international standards concerning the treatment of the detained.

That the Colombian Office of the High Commission of the United Nations for the Defense of Human Rights and the International Committee of the Red Cross carry out a verification visit to the Penitentiary of Valledupar – La Tramacúa, and that in consequence they recommend to the Colombian State that it obey the instruments of protection for the Human Rights of the prison population and the mandate of International Humanitarian Law, separating the political prisoners from the paramilitary prisoners and from the common criminals.

We thank you for SENDING YOUR LETTERS OF SUPPORT to the following Colombian authorities:

President of the Republic

JUAN MANUEL SANTOS CALDERON

Carrera 8 No.7-26 Palacio de Nariño Bogotá. 

Fax: (+57 1) 566.20.71

Minister of the Interior and Justice

GERMÁN VARGAS LLERAS

Carrera 9a. No. 14-10, Bogotá.

PBX (+57) 444 31 00

National Director of INPEC 

CARLOS ALBERTO BARRAGÁN GALINDO

Calle 26 No. 27-48, Bogotá.

PBX (57) 2347474 / 2347262

E- mail: reclamos@inpec.gov.co ; Webmaster@inpec.gov.co

General Prosecutor for the Nation

ALEJANDRO ORDÓÑEZ MALDONADO

Carrera 5 #. 15-80, Bogotá.

Fax: (+571) 3429723 – 2847949 Fax: (+571) 3429723

E-mail: cap@procuraduria.gov.co, quejas@procuraduria.gov.co; and webmaster@procuraduria.gov.co

National Public Defender

VOLMAR ANTONIO PÉREZ ORTIZ

Calle 55 # 10-32, Bogotá.

Fax: (+571) 640.04.91

E-mail: secretaria_privada@hotmail.com; agenda@agenda.gov.co

Bogota D.C., Colombia

September 14, 2010

The struggle for justice is not a crime, it is a step toward freedom. Political Prisoners to the streets!!

TO LISTEN TO THE AUDIO OF THE DENUNCIATION (denunciation concerning the situation in the jail of Valledupar and the hunger strike of Félix Roberto Sanabria): http://www.traspasalosmuros.net/audios/TRAMACUA.mp3

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