Colombia: Journalist seeks justice

Colombia: Journalist seeks justice - Protection

Tomorrow, journalist, Claudia Duque, will testify in proceedings brought against former agents of the Colombian security services who stand accused of using psychological torture.

On 1 March, in open-court proceedings, the public will hear journalist Claudia Duque testify how, over the past 12 years, she has been subjected to threats, psychological torture, and even abduction at the hands of former agents of the Administrative Department of Security (DAS) – the now defunct Colombian security service. The hearing will continue until 3 March 2016.

“I’ve been waiting for this moment for more than 12 years: to tell my story before a judge in a public hearing, to say exactly what it has meant to me, to my family, to Colombian journalism and to the defence of human rights in this country to have torture inflicted on me by the DAS and to be silenced,” said Duque in an open letter.

Tomorrow’s depositions are part of proceedings being brought against eight former DAS members, three of whom are already imprisoned, and five remain free. The former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe and the former DAS director Jorge Noguera are also suspected of involvement in the crimes, but investigations into this have been halted.

Duque has suffered persecution for many years, which began as a result of her investigation into the murder of comedian Jaime Garzón in 1999. She believes that DAS agents were involved in the case.

Out of fear of reprisal, Duque has sought to mobilise media and human rights organisations worldwide to draw attention to her case, and to demand expedited investigations and a neutral judicial process. She has also asked supporters to attend the hearing to support her, given the possibility she may be accused of intentionally victimising herself, as she has been accused before.

ARTICLE 19 has followed the case of Claudia Duque and urges the Colombian state to ensure Duque’s safety so that she can testify freely. ARTICLE 19 calls on Colombia to bring to justice all those who are responsible for attacks against journalists and human rights defenders.