Liliany Obando Taken Back into Custody

Urgent Update from the Alliance for Global Justice:


Human rights defender and peace activist, Liliany (Lily) Obando, was been taken back into custody on August 5, 2014. She has also declared that starting at 10am on Saturday she will begin a hunger strike in protest of her treatment, and to demand her release from this unjust detention.


The International Network in Solidarity with the Political Prisoners (of Colombia) which includes the Alliance for Global Justice is following the situation closely. Details are still not clear, but as far as we know, she is not facing new charges, but has been jailed again after a period of home detention. Apparently the time she spent in home detention is not being counted toward her sentence. We are very worried that if she is returned to the Buen Pastor Women’s Penitentiary that she will be targeted for abuse and retribution by prison personnel and prisoners connected to paramilitaries. Currently she is being jailed in a holding cell at the District Attorney’s office in the Paloquemao section of Bogotá. Our hope is that she will be returned to home detention rather than face further time in Colombia’s US funded and advised prison system. Even more, what we hope for and insist on is that the sentence be commuted and that Lily receive unconditional freedom both from the prison cell and from home detention. We are particularly concerned about the hardship and suffering this poses for Lily’s family, given that she is a single mother and head of household.


Lily was first arrested in August, 2008 and charged with raising funds for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP) and with rebellion. The fund raising charge was thrown out after it was shown that the so-called evidence had been tampered with by agents of the Colombian police. Furthermore, she was accused of raising funds for the FARC-EP during an international labor tour. However, all those funds were accounted for, going to their legitimate destination, to help the Fensuagro union of agricultural workers. The charge of rebellion is a notorious catch-all charge that has been used to imprison thousands of unionists, student activists and human rights defenders. For us in the United States, it is important to remember that the US not only funds war and repression in Colombia, but that it also has funded prison construction and advised the restructuring of a penitentiary system that now holds some 10,000 political prisoners.



We urge AfGJ supporters to take the following steps:


1) Visit the page of the International Network in Solidarity with the Political Prisoners to read important solidarity statements and updates on Lily’s case.


2) Send the following letter, or write your own. It is best if the letter is in Spanish.


Send it to:


Address: Calle 11 No, 9 A- 24 Piso 8 Bogota.

Following is a sample letter in both English and Spanish:

August _______, 2014



Her office, Bogotá, Colombia

In reference to file: 1100310700920090004600

Respectful Greetings:


I am affiliated with _________ (name of organization, union, or academic institution and name of country) and have the honor of writing to you for the purpose of requesting that your office secure a timely resolution of the judicial situation of the defender of human rights LILIANY PATRICIA OBANDO VILLOTA. We recognize her as a woman of high personal and academic qualities. She is fully capable of contributing to the discussions that Colombian society must now carry out in anticipation of an eventual transition process from war to peace.


After the sentence imposed on her was confirmed, we became aware that the defense attorney has filed a request for conditional liberty on behalf of LILIANY PATRICIA which she merits because she has more than completed the time set for criminal procedures under Colombian law.


As already pointed out, the defender of human rights LILIANY PATRICIA OBANDO VILLOTA is a person who manifests superior human qualities, and, therefore, represents no danger to society and, indeed, can make a contribution to our country in these crucial time. Additionally, she was convicted for a political crime and, as such, benefits from special constitutional treatment in Colombia. We therefore request favorable resolution of the petition for conditional liberty, which, if granted, would end the continuing imposition of a measure restrictive of this fundamental right.


In the meantime, we hope that within the framework of an eventual transition process, the conviction of LILIANY PATRICIA OBANDO VILLOTA will be reviewed and that her presumption of innocence will be re-established.


In the case of the defender of human rights LILIANY PATRICIA OBANDO VILLOTA, my associates and I would be grateful for promptness on the part of your office, and also for your being open to implementation of all judicial guarantees provided under the political constitution, laws, and international treaties to which the Colombian state is subject.


Communications will reach us at ___________________________

We look forward to a response from your office

Sincerely yours,





Bogotá, Colombia


Ref. Radicado: 1100310700920090004600


Respetuoso saludo

Tengo el honor de dirigirme a Usted en nombre de ___________________________, organización (sindical, social, académica…) de*(país)* con el propósito de solicitar de su Despacho una oportuna resolución de la situación jurídica de la defensora de derechos humanos LILIANY PATRICIA OBANDO VILLOTA, en quien reconocemos a una mujer de altas cualidades personales, académicas, con capacidad de aportar en los debates que hoy debe dar la sociedad colombiana, ante un eventual escenario de transición de la guerra a la paz.


Luego de la confirmación de la condena que se profirió en su contra, tenemos conocimiento que el apoderado de la defensa, ha radicado una solicitud de libertad condicional en beneficio de LILIANY PATRICIA, dado que cumplió con creces el tiempo previsto por la legislación procesal penal colombiana, para acceder a ella.


No solamente por considerar que la defensora de derechos humanos LILIANY PATRICIA OBANDO VILLOTA es una persona que como ya señalamos, tiene unas altas calidades humanas y que por tanto no representa un peligro para la sociedad, pues por el contrario puede contribuir en estos momentos cruciales para el país; sino porque el punible por el cual se profirió sentencia en su contra goza de un tratamiento constitucional especial en Colombia, por tratarse de un delito político, solicitamos resolver favorablemente la petición de libertad condicional, evitando así la continuidad de una medida restrictiva de este derecho fundamental.


A mediano plazo, esperamos que en el marco de un eventual proceso de transición, la condena contra LILIANY PATRICIA OBANDO VILLOTA sea revisada y restablecida su presunción de inocencia.


Nuestra organización agradece de su Despacho la celeridad y apertura hacia la aplicación de todas las garantías judiciales, derivadas de la Constitución Política, la ley y los tratados internacionales suscritos por el Estado Colombiano, en el caso de la defensora de derechos humanos LILIANY PATRICIA OBANDO VILLOTA.

Recibimos comunicación en:


Quedamos atentos a la respuesta de su Despacho.




3) We encourage Spanish speakers to use the above letter as a model and to call the judge’s office directly at 011 57 2846527. 


Click here to read a moving piece by Lily’s son, Camilo Insuasty Obando about his experiences visiting the prison where his mother was held. 


Click here to watch a video of Beyond the Walls, a play based on Lily’s writings and on testimonies, poetry and collective statements that Lily collected during her first imprisonment.