David Rabelo Crespo









On 14 September 2010 human rights defender David Rabelo Crespo was arrested in Barrancabermeja, Colombia.

A well known defender, David is the secretary of the Board of Directors of the Corporación Regional para la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos – CREDHOS (Regional Corporation for the Defence of Human Rights), a non-governmental organisation dedicated to the protection and promotion of human rights in Colombia. Prior to his arrest David and his extended family had death threats directed towards them which have only increased since his arrest.

David was charged with criminal conspiracy and aggravated homicide, under the order of the Prosecutor 22 of the Unidad Nacional de Antiterrorismo based on voluntary statements given by the paramilitary Mario Jaimes Mejía, alias “El Panadero.” This paramilitary, a member of the Autodefensas Unidas de Santander y Cesar (AUSAC), was detained in March 1999 and condemned by the normal justice system as being the main person behind the massacres of the 16th May 1998 and the 28th February 1999.

In June 2012 the trial closed. On 7 December 2012, David was sentenced to 18 years and 3 months' imprisonment

David Rabelo Crespo was a finalist for the 2013 Front Line Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk.

David is one of the featured HRDs in the 2013 Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign in Colombia.

It is clear that Mr. Rabelo's detention is a reprisal for his work dedicated to the defence of human rights, and an attempt to silence any further criticism.

- Liz Davies, Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers

Front Line Defenders has issued the following appeals and statements on David Ravelo Crespo:

18 June 2015 - Solicitors Journal: Human rights violations in South America: ‘Through my words and poetry, I can transcend these prison walls’

11 March 2014 - Joint Declaration - International organizations request that attention be paid to the case against David Rabelo Crespo

6 February 2014 - Escalation in number of death threats against human rights defenders and civil society leaders

19 September 2013 - How Many Nights Without Seeing Stars

13 September 2013 - Joint Declaration by International Organisations Expressing Concern on the 3rd Anniversary of the detention of David Rabelo Crespo

21 February 2013 -A voice that won’t be silenced (Blog post by Niamh Ni Bhriain)

28 January 2013 - Human rights defenders from Iran, Cambodia, Kenya, Uzbekistan, Colombia and Mauritania shortlisted for 2013 Front Line Award for Human Rights Defenders at Risk

10 December 2012-Joint statement released expressing grave concerns with the conviction of David Rabelo Crespo, Colombian human rights defender

7 December 2012 - Human rights defender Mr David Rabelo Crespo sentenced to 18 years imprisonment

30 November 2012 - New irregularity in trial of human rights defender Mr David Rabelo Crespo

1 June 2012 - Human rights defender Mr David Rabelo Crespo awaits verdict following closing remarks in trial

1 February 2012 - David Rabelo Crespo Arrested

29 September 2010 - Update – Threats against the family of detained human rights defender David Rabelo Crespo

17 September 2010 - Human rights defender Mr David Ravelo Crespo detained and currently being held in Bogotá