Case History: Jorge Eliecer Molano
On 17 May 2013, a pamphlet was pushed under the door of the office of Comité Mujeres Corteras de Caña which read: “Death to Alfamir and her lawyers for messing with the wolves and fishes". At that time, Jorge Eliecer Molanowas the lawyer of Alfamir Castillo, whose son was victim of extra-judicial killing in 2008.
Jorge Eliecer Molano is a legal advisor for human rights organisations such as the Sembrar Organisation, NOMADESC, la Corporación Jurídica Utopía (Legal Utopia Organisation) and Fedeagromisbol. He provides legal representation to victims of human rights violations.
Human rights defenders Ms Alfamir Castillo, Mr Jorge Eliécer Molano and Mr Germán Romero Sánchez were subjected to a new death threat, one week before the commencement of a trial they are all involved in. Alfamir Castillo is president of the Comité Mujeres Corteras de Caña (Committee of Women Sugar Cane Harvesters) and mother of Darvey Mosquera Castillo, a young victim of extra-judicial killing. Jorge Eliécer Molano is a member of the Corporación SEMBRAR and a legal advisor with a number of human rights organisations, including Asociación NOMADESC and FEDEAGROMISBOL. Germán Romero Sánchez is also a member of the Corporación SEMBRAR and legal advisor for victims of land rights violations and issues relating to the restitution of land. The two lawyers provide legal representation to victims of human rights violations and crimes against humanity. On 17 May 2013, a pamphlet was pushed under the door of the office of Comité Mujeres Corteras de Caña which read: “MUERFE A AlfaMIR A SUS aBOGados POR meTERSE on los lovos peses” (death to Alfamir and her lawyers for messing with the wolves and fishes). All three human rights defenders are involved in the criminal proceedings being brought against several high-ranking military officers of the Colombian Army, accused of the extra-judicial executions of Darvey Mosquera Castillo and Alex Hernando Ramírez Hurtado, in Manizales in 2008. The two men were killed and presented as having died in combat, an extrajudicial killing known by the misnamed term 'false positives', in which members of the Colombia Armed Forces kill someone and then claim they were guerilla fighters in order to claim promotions, financial and/or other compensation. The latest threat comes just a week before the trials of senior military officials implicated in the case: due to take place on 24 May 2013 at 9am in Manizales. Seven senior officials have already been convicted so far in this case. Since 18 July 2012 the families, witnesses, lawyers and civil servants affiliated with the victims have been faced with constant threats from unknown sources. Front Line Defenders issued a previous urgent appeal on 19 October 2012.
On 10 October 2012, death threats were issued against human rights lawyers Mr Jorge Eliecer Molano Rodríguez and Mr German Romero Sánchez. The lawyers are assisting the mother of a victim of human rights violations, Ms Alfamir Castillo, who also received a death threat on the same occasion. Jorge Eliecer Molano is a legal advisor for human rights organisations such as the Sembrar Organisation, NOMADESC, la Corporación Jurídica Utopía (Legal Utopia Organisation) and Fedeagromisbol. He provides legal representation to victims of human rights violations. German Romero Sánchez is legal assessor of the NGO Corporation Yira Castro, and provides legal representation to victims of human rights violations committed by senior military officers or paramilitaries. On 10 October 2012, at 7.40am, Alfamir Castillo left her town of Pradera, in the Cauca Valley, on a public bus in the direction of the city of Santiago de Cali. At 8.10am, during a stop on Vía Versalles in the town of Palmira, a passenger boarded the bus, approached her, aimed a firearm at her chest and told her to “tell that snitch of a lawyer he is going to die, and so are you”. The man then jumped off the bus and disappeared from view into the “Olímpico” store. Alfamir Castillo continued her journey to Cali where she reported the incident to the Asociación para la Investigación y la Acción Social – NOMADESC (The Association for Research and Social Action). She reported recognising the man from a previous occasion, on 13 January 2012, when he followed her as she left the Cauca Valley office of the National Public Prosecutor's Immediate Response Unit, which she had visited to report a previous threat made against her. German Romero Sánchez and Jorge Eliecer Molano Rodríguez are currently assisting Alfamir Castillo in a trial in which several high-ranking military officers stand accused of involvement in the death of her son and another man, on 8 February 2008. Alfamir Castillo's son was killed in what is known as a 'false positive', where members of the state security forces kill someone and then claim that they were a rebel. Seven members of the military have already been convicted for their involvement in the operation. Several high-ranking line officers currently stand accused of involvement in ordering the operation. The threats received by Alfamir Castillo came 48 hours before the scheduled hearing in which Major Josue Yobanni Linares and Captain Julio César Álvaro Pedreros were to be charged, and in which the court was to decide whether it would detain the two officers. The human rights lawyers have also requested that two further officials from the line of command of the same brigade, Colonels Emiro José Barrio Jiménez and Jorge Enrique Navarrete, be linked to the investigation, and removed from the professional development courses to become Generals which both are currently attending. Jorge Eliecer Molano has often been targeted by threats in the past.
Human rights defender and lawyer, Mr Jorge Eliecer Molano Rodriguez, along with his family, has been subject to increasing levels of surveillance and intimidation. Jorge Eliecer Molano is a legal advisor for human rights organisations such as the Sembrar Organisation, the Nomadesc Association, la Corporación Jurídica Utopía (Legal Utopia Organisation) y Fedeagromisbol. He also provides legal representation to victims of human rights violations, such as the families of those killed in the massacre in the Comunidad de Paz de San José de Apartado (Peace Community of San José de Apartado). On 1 December 2009, Jorge Eliecer Molano's security personnel learned that on three occasions in the previous week, unknown persons, dressed in plain-clothes, had gone to the reception of the residential complex in which the lawyer lives and have tried to gain access to his home. The persons refused to identify themselves or to present documents, and when the watchman on duty tried to contact the apartment to see if Jorge Eliecer Molano was present and wanted to see them, the visitors left suddenly saying that they would try to contact him again later. In recent months Jorge Eliecer Molano's offices have been under surveillance by unknown persons in plain-clothes. The lawyer's mobile telephone has been tapped since 2004, reportedly by the DAS, as part of a general practice of surveillance of human rights defenders, magistrates and political leaders. During the past month, Jorge Eliecer Molano has reported that interference with the telephone has increased. He has noticed strange noises and his calls are routinely disconnected. In addition, numerous comments about Jorge Eliecer Molano have been posted on internet forums. These have included comments such as: “Me dirijo exclusivamente al vulgar y desvergonzado eduarda (jorge molano) para manifestarle mi asco, mi repugnancia. huele a terrorista, a apátrida, a dinero de los infelices secuestrados, que le abonan seguramente cada quincena sus patroncitos del monte. si tiene familia, seguramente que caminan cabizbajos. me imagino que usted no sabe qué es honor” (I address myself only to the vulgar and shameless Eduardo [Jorge Eliecer Molano] to demonstrate my disgust, my repugnance. He smells like a terrorist, an unpatriotic person, with money from unhappy hostages whose bosses on the mountain probably paid him every fortnight. If he has a family, surely they walk crestfallen. I imagine that he doesn't know what honour is). The following text is repeated on several internet pages: “Queremos dejar constancia de que si algo nos sucede a nosotros o a algunos de nuestros familiares, responsabilizamos a la juez y a su asesor el abogado Jorge Molano, que nuestra sangre caiga sobre estos personajes” (We want to state that if anything happens to us or our families, we place responsibility upon the judge and her advisor, the lawyer Jorge Molano, that our blood falls on those persons). The author of these statements signs off as Mr Alberto Acosta, which is the name of a retired officer of the National Army. Jorge Eliecer Molano's partner has also been the subject of repeated followings in the centre and north of Bogotá. On 14 September at 7.00pm, she was followed by a heavyset man who wore black trousers, a bright jacket, and black shoes. He had black hair with a receding hairline, and he had sallow skin, with a round face and a large nose. He followed her for several blocks, whilst always remaining visible to her. On the 7 September 2009 at 11.00am, upon leaving a meeting at the Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo (José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers' Collective), when she began walking on Seventh Street she noticed a man begin to follow her. He was tall, heavyset, with short hair, light-brown skin, dressed in a white shirt with blue stripes and jeans. After noticing him she entered a busy tobacco shop, where she would be surrounded by people. The man entered the shop and looked around, but upon not seeing her exited through another door.