The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Brenda Bowser Soder 202-370-3323,

Colombian Attorney-General Orders Investigation of Prosecutor for Corruption

Recognizes Harassment in Emblematic Case of Baseless Prosecution of Activist


The Colombian Attorney General has ordered a criminal investigation
of Sucre prosecutor Rodolfo Martinez Mendoza for alleged corruption in
connection with his baseless prosecution of renowned activist Carmelo
Agamez. While Agamez remains unjustly detained, Human Rights First
hopes that the Attorney General's decision to reassign the case to a
prosecutor in Bogota will herald his imminent release.

"We congratulate the Attorney General for increasingly recognizing
the widespread nature of baseless prosecutions against Colombian human
rights defenders," said Andrew Hudson, Senior Associate at Human Rights
First. "We urge that Agamez and many other defenders be promptly
released from unjust detention and that the trumped-up charges against
them be dropped."

In reassigning the prosecutor by way of a formal resolution, the
Attorney General repeatedly cited Human Rights First's concerns about
the lack of impartiality in the investigation against Agamez. Human
Rights First had previously called on the Attorney General to appoint a
new, objective, prosecutor to the case and to release Agamez from
detention. The persecution against Agamez was included in a recent
report by Human Rights First, In the Dock and Under the Gun: Baseless Prosecutions of Human Rights Defenders in Colombia,
which documented for the first time the extensive use of malicious
criminal investigation and arbitrary detention to silence human rights

Carmelo Agamez was charged with consorting with right-wing
paramilitary leaders and has been detained in Sucre since November
2008. He is Technical Secretary of the Movement of Victims of State
Crimes (MOVICE) and has exposed alleged links between local public
officials and paramilitaries and urged the prosecution of paramilitary
leaders in the region. A court recently found that the prosecutor
breached Agamez's due process and defense rights by failing to inform
him of the charges against him.

For more information contact Andrew Hudson +1 212 845 5278

Letter to the Attorney General that was Cited in the Resolution

Petition Sent to Attorney General Urging Agamez's Release

Los Angeles Times Article on Agamez

Urgent Action about Agamez's detention

Report on Baseless Prosecutions of Colombian Human Rights Defenders

Human Rights First is a non-profit, nonpartisan international human rights organization based in New York and Washington D.C. Human Rights First believes that building respect for human rights and the rule of law will help ensure the dignity to which every individual is entitled and will stem tyranny, extremism, intolerance, and violence.