BM70: European Students stand behind Colombian students’ and defend their right to speech
During the 1st of May demonstrations in Medellin Colombia, 4 student activists were detained by the national police when returning home from the march. The arrest was conducted in unclear circumstances and with apparent abuses of the minimum judicial guarantees. Students Santiago Ángel, Juan Camilo Ángel, Cristian Camilo Peña and Alexis Casas Valencia, members of the Colombian Association of University Students (ACEU), University of Antioquia and one member of the Colombian Communist Youth (JUCO) were taken to a police station and stripped from their belongings. After that, police claimed that they were in possession of FARC propaganda were accused of having FARC’s propaganda and stickers. They are currently being prosecuted for terrorism with no strong nor clear evidence backing their claim.
We follow with concern the political persecution that is being developed in Colombian territory. It is really incomprehensible that after the start of peace talks in 2012, the current government does not offer real guarantees for the political opposition, members of social organizations, peasant and indigenous leaders, unions, Afro-Colombian or students. Young Colombians are aware that true peace requires social justice, public quality education and the protection of fundamental rights such as social mobilization and political participation.
We, the European Students’ representatives, sympathize with the cause of peace and social justice in Colombia and will remain vigilant to the fate of the four detained student. We demand the Colombian authorities to respect their rights, freedoms and full judicial guarantees and aspire to their early release.
Social mobilization and critical thinking are not terrorism!