Information transmitted to the Government
173. By letter dated 26 August 1993 the Special Rapporteur advised the Government that he had received information on 17 cases of torture reported to have occurred in the country. These cases are described in the following paragraphs.
174. Wilson Méndez was arrested by members of the army on 26 October 1992 in the city of Doncello, department of Caquetá, on suspicion of belonging to the opposition group Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC). He was taken to the Florencia Battalion where he was reportedly shot in the legs and had to be transferred to María Inmaculada hospital where he underwent surgery. According to witnesses, while he was in hospital the soldiers guarding him struck him with their weapons, inflicting fresh injuries to his legs. The medical personnel who attempted to intervene reportedly received death threats.
175. Luis Fernando Martínez and his wife Sonebia Pinzón Herrera had their house in Sabaneta, department of Santander, broken into during the night of 7 November 1992 by a group of five soldiers from Mobile Brigade No. 2. Luis Fernando Martínez was taken to prison and his wife, Sonebia Pinzón, and her two-year-old daughter, Marcela Becerra Pinzón, were reportedly raped by the soldiers. Subsequent medical examinations were said to have confirmed these reports. According to the information received, four soldiers from Anti-Guerrilla Battalion No. 18 ("Cimarrones"), connected with Mobile Brigade No. 2, were detained on accusations of child abuse, rape and conspiracy to break the law.
176. Heberto Sánchez Tamayo, Diego Miguel Hernández and Astrid Liliana Rodríguez were part of a group of 18 persons travelling on a river boat from Tres Esquinas to Cartagena del Chairá in the municipality of San Vicente del Caguán, department of Caquetá, on 20 March 1993. The boat was reportedly intercepted outside Puerto La Reforma by members of the army's Mobile Brigade No. 1, who forced some of the passengers, including the above-mentioned persons, to strip off their clothes and disembark. These persons were then interrogated on guerrilla activities in the area and tortured, in particular by suffocation in the mud of the river. Heberto Sánchez and Diego Hernández had their arms and knees twisted and were hung upside down. Astrid Rodríguez was beaten on the feet with a hammer, had soap stuffed in her mouth and her breasts crushed. They were then transferred to Battalion No. 36 ("Montaña Cazadores") at San Vicente del Caguán where Astrid Rodríguez was subjected to further maltreatment.
177. Gilberto Jurado Alvarán, and Henri Cardona, were arrested on 3 August 1993 on the road from Fortul to Arauquita, department of Arauca, by members of the Reveiz Pizarro de Saravena Battalion of the Mechanized Cavalry. They were taken to Simon Bolívar School of Vereda "La Salve" where, they were reportedly beaten severely. Mr. Jurado was reportedly also subjected to drowning attempts in a nearby lake. Before being released four days later, they were forced to sign a declaration stating that they had been well treated.
178. The Special Rapporteur was also informed of the cases referred to below, which reportedly occurred in Barrancabermeja, department of Santander.
179. Armando Gómez, was arrested on 18 April 1993 while riding a motorcycle near the Departmental Inspectorate of El Llanito in the municipality of Barrancabermeja by members of the armed forces. He was taken to a nearby farm where, while being interrogated, he was reportedly beaten and his head submerged several times in a basin of water to the point where he was close to drowning. He was then taken together with another 19-year-old who was also under arrest, Dimas Benavides, to the Nueva Granada Battalion where electric shocks were reportedly applied to their testicles, their necks and their feet while they were being beaten. They were released on 20 April.
180. Miguel Angel Duque Valencia was arrested on 30 April 1993 by 10 plainclothed men who took him to the Nueva Granada Battalion where he was subjected to such torture as suffocation, beatings and kicks in various parts of his body.
181. José Manuel Rodríguez Sampayo was arrested on 1 May 1993 by a group of plain-clothed men who took him to the Nueva Granada Battalion, where he was subjected to suffocation and beatings all over his body to the point where he lost consciousness. Before being turned over to the government procurator's office he was forced to sign a declaration stating that he had been well treated.
182. José Antonio López was arrested on 3 May 1993 by plainclothed men. He was reportedly taken to the Nueva Granada Battalion and led blindfolded through some of the north-eastern districts. In one of these districts they made him force open a door with his head. They then took him to a swamp where they repeatedly submerged his head in water, almost drowning him, and from there back to the Nueva Granada Battalion where it was reported that they submerged his head in water again, applied electric shocks to his testicles and burnt him with cigarettes.
183. Orlando Noguera was arrested on 3 May 1993 by plainclothed men who bound his hands, feet and waist with barbed wire. They took him to the Nueva Granada Battalion where they poured acid into his stomach, producing ulcers. Still tied up, they took him to the north-eastern districts where they filled his mouth with mud, after which they took him to a marsh and repeatedly submerged his head in water for two hours. They then took him back to the Battalion where they reportedly trod on his testicles with boots, applied electric shocks to them, and stuck pointed sticks up his nose. They also reportedly kicked him in the ears, impairing his hearing.
184. Yofre Cervantes Corzo was arrested on 3 May 1993 by plainclothed men. He was detained in the Nueva Granada Battalion for 32 hours during which he was subjected to rifle blows and electric shocks to his testicles, and his head was repeatedly submerged in water.
185. Orlando Rueda Arguello was arrested by troops from the Luciano D'Elhuyart Battalion on 13 March 1993 at a military post near San Vicente de Chucurí. He was handed over to the San Vicente de Chucurí police who reportedly subjected him to such torture as introducing his head into a plastic bag into which water was then poured. They also reportedly stuck pins under his nails and beat him.
186. By the same letter, of 26 August 1993, the Special Rapporteur reminded the Government of a number of cases transmitted in 1992 regarding which no reply had been received.
Information submitted by the Government in connection with Commission resolution 1993/48
187. In pursuance of this resolution the Government provided information on the results of the anti-drug programme for the period 1990 to August 1993. It also stated that, following a terrorist attack carried out by drug traffickers on 15 April 1993 in Bogota which caused the death of 10 persons, further measures in the framework of the emergency legislation had been adopted.
188. The Special Rapporteur is aware of the situation in Colombia, reflected in the Government's letter of 24 July 1992 noted in his predecessor's last report (E/CN.4/1993/26, para. 116) and characterized by brutal, violent acts of armed opposition groups and gangs of drug traffickers. The Government correctly does not claim that such acts, however atrocious in themselves, justify resort to torture by the official security forces or others acting with their complaisance. The Special Rapporteur looks forward to learning from the Government what measures it proposes to take to bring under control this problem which seems to be endemic, especially in zones of conflict.