PBI-Colombia interviews CCAJAR lawyer Reynaldo Villalba about illegal intelligence operations by the military

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On August 12, the Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project posted this 7-minute video – with English subtitles – of their interview with Reynaldo Villalba of the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective Corporation (CCAJAR).

On May 1, the Colombian weekly magazine Semana reported: “Between February and the first days of December last year, the activities of more than 130 citizens were the target of what the military called ‘profiles’ and ‘special jobs.”

That article adds: “Using computer tools and software, [the military] carried out searches and massively and indiscriminately collected as much information as possible about their objectives to prepare military intelligence reports.”

CCAJAR was subjected to those illegal operations.

As noted on this PBI-Colombia webpage, the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective Corporation (CCAJAR) “currently has 15 lawyers and about 30 legal assistants. They are working on over 500 cases of human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law.”

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, the Office in Colombia of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the International Observatory for Lawyers (OIAD), and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression Edison Lanza and four United Nations Special Rapporteurs (including Mary Lawlor) have expressed their concern about the illegal surveillance operations.

Despite this, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau did not raise this issue in his talks with Colombian President Iván Duque on either May 11 or July 31.

PBI-Colombia has accompanied CCAJAR since 1995.

To watch the PBI-Colombia video, please click here. For a PBI-Colombia feature article on Reynaldo Villalba, please click here.

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