Those of us who were UK congress delegates in 2012 will remember the electrifying speech given by Dr Miguel Beltran, the Colombian academic who had been falsely imprisoned for two years on the charges of rebellion – a trumped up accusation due to his criticism of the Colombian government.
In his speech he paid tribute to UCU saying:
“There were moments when every door seemed to be closing. But your solidarity meant I did not feel alone. It gave me dignity and the strength to carry on.”
On 31 of July of this year he was once again arrested. The arrest came after the ruling which cleared Miguel of all charges was overturned, but in spite of the fact that a subsequent appeal with the Supreme Court is still in process.
On 3rd August he was physically assaulted by a guard while in the maximum security wing of the prison he is being held in.
The legal persecution of Miguel Beltran has now been running for seven years, since he was arrested illegally in Mexico in 2009 and flown back to Colombia with no extradition process. The attack against Miguel is considered a clear attempt by the authorities to punish him for his critical analysis of the Colombian armed conflict.
Sally Hunt, our General Secretary, has played a major role in highlighting Miguel’s case and is now helping organise a petition for his release. Already 3,000 UCU members have signed it. You can also sign it here. Sally will shortly join others in handing it in to the Colombian Embassy calling for his release.
Help make the petition and the campaign a success.