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Colombia: Human Rights

Volume 507: debated on Tuesday 16 March 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with the Government of Colombia on (a) the arrest, (b) the imprisonment and (c) due process in the trial of Professor Miguel Angel Beltran Villegas. (321612)

We have had no discussions with the Colombian Government about the arrest, imprisonment or trial of Professor Villegas. However, we understand that he has been charged with ‘rebellion’; we have previously pointed out to the Colombian Government that those charged with crimes such as ‘rebellion’ should have their legal rights fully respected, including to a timely and fair trial.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Colombia on academic freedom in that country. (321613)

We have not had any recent discussions with the Colombian Government on this issue. However, we constantly reiterate the need for the human rights of all Colombians to be recognised and protected.

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will request the Government of Colombia to produce the evidence it holds to substantiate the claim that Miguel Angel Beltran Villegas is (a) a member of the FARC and (b) the person known as Jaime Cienfuegos. (321614)

We cannot interfere in the legal process of another country. However, we have previously pointed out to the Colombian Government that those charged with crimes such as ‘rebellion’ should have their legal rights fully respected, including to a timely and fair trial. Our embassy in Bogota will monitor the proceedings of this case.