Colombian police kill student demonstrator

Student Oscar Salas killed by police during a demonstration at the National University

Oscar Salas, a language student at the District University of Francisco Jose de Caldas in Bogota was injured during an attack by police on a student demonstration at the National University. He died several hours later in hospital.

The Colombian Association of University Students denounces these events, and stands shoulder to shoulder with his friends and family. We denounce the circumstances of his death, which according to witnesses happened at about 1.20pm after an attack by the ESMAD riot police who were using non-conventional weapons to disperse the protest. Oscar died from a severe trauma to his skull.

The ESMAD riot police clearly overreacted to what was a peaceful protest, reflecting the national policy that President Alvaro Uribe Velez has implemented to repress opposition social movements.
It is worth noting that today s student protest was the fruit of the social and armed conflict and the crisis that excludes the majority of Colombians from the democratic process and banishes them to poverty. It is the result of the war-mongering stance of national government. We will not forget that Oscar Salas is not the only victim.

We call on all society to reject this type of policy that only serves to deepen the crisis in our country, and we join the call to mobilise to demand an end to state sponsored violence, police brutality and the systematic violation of the human rights of those in opposition to the current government.
We demand that the government:


Please send messages of protest to the following (sample message below):

Dear Sir,

I am writing to express my horror at yet another death at the hands of the ESMAD riot police. Oscar Salas, a university student was killed by riot police while participating in a peaceful protest. I demand that the Colombian authorities do all in their power to investigate the events surrounding his death fully, and to bring those responsible to justice.

In light of further killings during the last year by members of ESMAD, including the deaths of students Nicolas Neira and Jonny Silva, and of indigenous people in Riosucio and Cauca, I urge the government to immediately order the disbanding of ESMAD. Please respond telling me what the government plans to do in the face of this killing.

Yours sincerely

Alvaro UribeVilez
Presidente de la Republica
Fax: 57 1 566 2071

Francisco Santos.
Vicepresidente de Colombia

Carlos Franco
Director del Programa de Derechos Humanos de Vicepresidencia

Edgardo Jose Maya Villazsn
Procurador General de la Nacion.

Volmar Antonio Perez Ortiz
Defensor del Pueblo
Fax: 57 1 6400491

Oficina del Alto Comisionado de Naciones Unidas para los derechos humanos.
Fax: 57 1 6293637

March 2006

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