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Colombia – Human rights defender Carolina Rubio Esguerra detained by Colombian Criminal Investigation Unit
On 16 November 2010, human rights defender Ms Carolina Rubio Esguerra was detained by members of the Seccional de Investigación Criminal - SIJIN (Criminal Investigation Unit) in Bucaramanga City, Colombia, and is currently being held at the SIJIN Headquarters. Carolina Rubio Esguerra is in her ninth month of pregnancy.
Ms Rubio Esguerra is head of the Santander branch of the Fundación Comité de Solidaridad con los Presos Políticos - FCSPP (Foundation Committee for Solidarity with Political Prisoners), an NGO set up as a group initiative involving various human rights organisations within Colombia, as well as the United States and Europe.
She also represented Colombia in a recent assembly held by the International Office for Human Rights Action on Colombia (OIDHACO), and is the facilitator of the Santander branch of the Movimiento Nacional de Víctimas de Crímenes de Estado – MOVICE (National Movement of Victims of State Crimes).
Following her detention on 16 November, the SIJIN announced that they were going to hold Ms Rubio Esguerra overnight at their headquarters in Bucaramanga while awaiting further legal advice pertaining to the legality of her detention and the possibility of conducting an investigation.
Carolina Rubio Esguerra was summoned to appear before the district attorney Luz Daris Navas, accused of crimes of rebellion. At present the full nature of the accusations remain unknown.
The detention of Carolina Rubio Esguerra forms part of an on-going campaign of arrests and intimidation against human rights defenders in Colombia, since President Juan Manual Santos took office over three months ago.
Front Line is concerned for the physical and psychological integrity of Carolina Rubio Esguerra, particularly taking in to account that she is nine months pregnant. Front Line is worried about the current situation for human rights defenders in Colombia, who in recent months have become the target of harassment, intimidation, and arrests.