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Thu Dec 20, 2012, 02:35 AM

Colombia criticized for sentencing human rights advocate .

Colombia criticized for sentencing human rights advocate .
Wednesday, 19 December 2012 15:55 Jacob Stringer

Members of the British Parliament joined human rights organizations in condemning the sentencing of a Colombian human rights advocate.

More than 80 members of the British Parliament reportedly signed a letter addressed to Colombia's Prosecutor General denouncing irregularities in the trial of David Ravelo Crespo, claiming the accusations against the alleged murderer are "politically motivated."

Ravelo was found guilty of the 1991 aggravated homicide of David Núñez Cala, a former mayoral candidate in the municipality of Barrancabermeja in the Santander department, and on December 6, 2012 was sentenced to 18 years in prison.

Ravelo's supporters, however, have noted numerous “severe irregularities” in the trial. They point out that the conviction is based on the testimony of two convicted demobilized paramilitaries who, in exchange for testifying against Ravelo, received shorter sentences. A further point of contention with the testimony is that fact that one of the paramilitaries "is in prison as a direct result of Mr. Ravelo’s human rights work," according to statements made by European human rights organizations.


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