Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey

Colombia: concentration camps and torture

Murders, harassment, lack of medical care, psychological and physical torture, are part of the working day of a guerrilla of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), in any Colombian prison, according to "Diego," an insurgent imprisoned at the high-security prison of Giron, in Santander department, northeast of the South American country.

A guerrilla of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) whom they call "Diego," read two communiqués for a telephone interview granted to Radio Basque "Desalambrar," which denounced the psychological and physical torture, malnutrition and disease hundreds of fighters detained in maximum security prisons suffer daily .

"The physical and psychological tortures are daily. Chaining hands and feet, clubs and gas," says an inmate of the high-security prison of Giron, in Santander department, northeast of the country.

The rebel tells that the security guards have even come to kill his companions and make it happen in many cases by drug overdose or hanging.

There are "murders of some of his companions who are hung, murdered by drug overdose, when this type of medicine has never been consumed internally," he reports.

Nocturnal diseases and "pleas" of lack of specialized medical attention abound in the "dungeon," as he calls it, with them made to drink water filled with feces.

"It's quite normal to find companions with severe intestinal problems and incurable illnesses, such as chronic diarrhea, particularly because they have made us consume water with fecal matter on several occasions," explains the guerrilla while he reads one of two releases on the "subhuman" situation in which they live "against their will."

Prisoner medical emergencies, if they are at night, are not heard or listened to until sunrise and usually are treated with medications that cause serious complications, expresses "Diego."

"It is very common to look at companions as they are thrown like dogs in punishment cages and they exist in a prisoner health area begging to be attended by a doctor, who after several hours offers the usual miracle pill: Diclofenac and Ibuprofen, generic," he explains.

"Here there is no medical service 24 hours a day, or specialized service. Falling ill is a physical and psychological torture (...). A flu or a harmless cough, later becomes in a terminal illness (. ..) all this for lack of timely and efficient medical care," he adds.

In order to be moved to areas within the prison, guards were tied to the prisoners.

"In this prison (...) it is a common procedure of the guard to tie you at the time you are sent to the visitation area, health care, call centers, educational and any other internal place," he laments.

At the time of being transferred outside the seclusion center, the guerrillas travel in a van "without any kind of ventilation and are made to do their physiological needs having been only provided "a plastic bottle."

"Any request made to them is answered by indignation and physical mistreatment (...). The majority of the time the solution they give to our pleas is to place us in the famous “scorpion” that consists of the binding of feet, waist and hands with chains and then placing us upside down to start with whipping," he says.

"Diego" denounces these "repressive methods" that qualify as "the most evil and horrifying" that are implemented by the government of President Alvaro Uribe, on the orders of the "bureau of prisons in the United States."

The relatives have stopped visiting them, because women and even children are subject to examinations such as physically touching the vagina, which on several occasions, has gone out of bounds.

"There are countless cases where our families take their determination not to return to this place because of the humiliation and abuses of officials responsible for these procedures," part of the communiqué read by "Diego."

Dozens of "Emmanuels" are born in prison

Among the prison population there are also women, who are forced in "violent" form by the Colombian State to be separated from their children, when they are only three months old.

"The situation of these sisters is the poorest. There are very subhuman conditions and more so when in a violent manner, the Colombian government deprives them of their children."

It is more difficult for the ladies to deal with the situation, and their status as women, believes "Diego" while cautioning that they receive the same treatment as men.

"Do you know gentlemen listeners the harsh reality they endure playing this to our companions in the various dungeons of this country? Do you know how many Emmanueles were born in difficult circumstances in these places?" concludes "Diego" in one of the communiqués.

On behalf of all "political prisoners", as themselves, "Diego" expressed support for the humanitarian exchange proposed by FARC and denied by Raul Agudelo, alias "Olivo Saldana," a guerrilla prisoner, who recently said that inmates disagreed with the exchange of hostages.
"Olivo Saldaña is only the spokesman of the new paramilitary group 'Hope of Peace,' who has been incubated in prison by order of Uribe and the Commissioner of Peace (Luis Carlos Restrepo)," he added.

Source: TeleSUR - ANNCOL / Mm-RN