Threats against environmental defender Oscar Sampayo, disappearance of his father Miguel

Published by Brent Patterson on

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Photo of Miguel Sampayo from W Radio article on his disappearance at Desapareció papá de líder ambiental del Magdalena Medio Santandereano.

On October 6, CRY-GEAM tweeted: “We denounce the disappearance of the father and serious threats against the environmental leader Oscar Sampayo.”

This statement from CRY-GEAM, the Alliance for a Colombia Free of Fracking and other organizations further notes:

“With concern and consternation we report the delicate personal and family situation for which our colleague OSCAR SAMPAYO, recognized environmental leader of Barrancabermeja and Magdalena Medio, member of the Yariguíes Regional Corporation – Social Studies Group Extractivos y Ambientales del Magdalena Medio (CRY-GEAM), the SINALTRAINAL Union, the National Environmental Movement, and the coordination of the Alianza Colombia Libre de Fracking.

Since September 13 in the morning and to date the whereabouts and condition are unknown physical and emotional of OSCAR SAMPAYO’s father, Mr. MIGUEL SAMPAYO. His family has received confusing messages from his part via WhatsApp and phone calls, which generate uncertainty founded on whether it is he who is actually communicating, which makes one suspect that found in the power of strangers, doubting the freedom of his actions and if he finds himself coerced by someone.

On September 17, OSCAR SAMPAYO received a message directly to his WhatsApp threatening signed by who calls himself “commander of the Madalena Self-Defense Forces Medio”, where a supposed quota was demanded in exchange for not attempting against OSCAR’s life, his father and the UNP bodyguards who provide protection. Also, in the last conversation that OSCAR’s mother argued with his father on September 24, he stated that he had to “Pay so they don’t kill OSCAR.

On September 30 after a series of inquiries by OSCAR SAMPAYO in Barrancabermeja and Yondó about his father, he receives another threat to his phone assigned by the UNP, in which they call him and tell him “we are tracking him, we have him located and we are already riding to fuck it up.”

On October 5, the social networks of facebook and whatsapp of OSCAR SAMPAYO’s father were hacked and impersonated, using them to send messages to his contacts requesting help for the conducting money transactions.

The risk situation and threats against OSCAR SAMPAYO and his family are fully knowledge of the State authorities, since September 17 a complaint was instituted before the Office of the Attorney General of the Nation on the latest events. His outstanding work in opposition to fracking, complaints of environmental contamination resulting from oil activities and the recent accompaniment to social and environmental conflicts with ECOPETROL in Barrancabermeja, San Vicente de Chucurí and Yondó, give an account of his exhibition.

Likewise, OSCAR SAMPAYO has denounced before the authorities about the threats that he has received in the past through threatening pamphlets, amidst the context of violence widespread against environmental defenders in Colombia, which have made it the country with the most dangerous for environmental activism. For this reason, WE ARE RESPONSIBLE for the negligence of the State any damage that may be presented to the integrity of OSCAR and his family.”

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