By Vinnie Molina,
On Wednesday 13th August 2014 Liliany Obando took the radical decision to go on a hunger strike. This was in protest of yet another injustice in this 6-year ordeal that started with her initial illegal and unfair arrest on 8th August 2008. At that time Liliany was held without charge for 43 months at the notorious “El Buen Pastor women’s prison” in Bogota.
The injustice was heightened by a denial of her right to be held in home detention to be able to care for her young children. International pressure exposed the illegality of her detention without charge and forced an end of legal terms. Liliany was then granted bail and placed on Provisional release on 1 March 2012.
While on Provisional release she was sentenced to 70 months in detention plus $400,000 fine. A huge fine that would be impossible to repay for any worker or activist let alone a single mother of two young children.
On 5th August 2014 the Colombian trade unionist and political prisoner was again taken from her home where she had been serving out the remainder of her sentence under house arrest.
Immediately International Networks went into action and the call was made for solidarity with Liliany Obando to local and international human rights organisations to demand her unconditional release. The International Network in Solidarity with Colombia’s Political Prisoners (INSPP) mobilized and sent a Canadian activist to shield Liliany and her family.
On 19th August, six days into her hunger strike Liliany Obando was transferred to her family home and is now under house arrest. Reports indicate she suffered a fall and sustained injuries to her right arm and her head when she hit the ground. She did not receive any kind of medical attention and family and friends feared for her health.
Since she was transferred to her family home a number of international delegations have been visiting Liliany. Among the high profile visitors are Justice for Colombia UK (JFC) sponsored lawyers and Parliamentarians such as SF MP Conor Murphy, German MPs Heinz Bierbaum & Dietmar Schultz. Liliany Obando sends a message of thanks to all those who have campaigned for her release and the protection of her family.
All this is proof of the power of international solidarity that in this case has kept Liliany alive. Over the 6-year ordeal several unions have sent delegations and other support to Liliany and her family.
SIGTUR expresses its solidarity with Liliany Obando and her family who are also victims of the Colombia’s state terrorism, we will continue campaigning for her unconditional release and the freedom of more than 9,500 Colombian Political Prisoners.
For updates on her case visit: www.inspp.org