The Bar Human Rights Committee joined other professional bodies in raising concern for the safety of Colombian Lawyer Daniel Prado Albarracin, currently representing victims of crimes committed by the paramilitary group “The 12 Apostles.”
The open letter was sent to the President of the Republic of Colombia, Iván Duque Márquez, and was signed by BHRC, the Bar Council of England and Wales, the Law Society of England and Wales, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada and Lawyers for Lawyers.
In the letter, the associations raise concern for Mr Prado’s safety in light of numerous acts of intimidation against him, including death threats; being followed by armed men after attending court hearings, and defamatory public statements against him by high ranking public officials.
In addition to concerns for Mr Prado’s safety, the letter highlighted concern for the safety of all lawyers in Colombia. The most recent official statistics of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights has indicated that the number of attacks against lawyers and human rights defenders in Colombia has increased since the signing of the Peace agreement in 2016.
BHRC, the Law Society, the Bar Council, LRWC, and Lawyers for Lawyers respectfully urge the relevant authorities:
- To investigate promptly and effectively all threats and acts of intimidation and harassment against Daniel Prado and others involved in the legal proceedings in the case of “the 12 Apostles” and ensure that such acts are not repeated;
- To provide adequate security measures (in consultation with Mr. Prado – and others involved in the legal proceedings in the case of “the 12 Apostles”) to ensure the personal safety and physical integrity of Daniel Prado and others in compliance with the precautionary measures ordered by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights;
- To comply with Colombia’s international obligations to ensure that Mr. Prado and other members of the legal profession can carry out their professional duties without harassment and improper interference; and
- To ensure the independence of the judiciary and other members of the legal profession in Colombia and prevent any law reforms negatively affecting such independence.