The Caravana international delegation of lawyers was ‘dismayed’ to learn that assassinations of Colombian judges and lawyers have increased since its last visit to the country two years ago, the Gazette can reveal.

The Caravana, which has shown the Gazette a report on its 2012 visit that it plans to publish early next year, says the killings continued almost up to its arrival in Colombia in August, with a lawyer assassinated earlier in the month. Another lawyer, interviewed by the Caravana, survived an attempted assassination five days after the delegation left the country.

The report says the Caravana wrote 12 times to the Colombian president between January and June 2012 to voice its concern at the killing of lawyers, including the murder of eight lawyers in the city of Cali alone.

Death threats, the Caravana’s report says, are ‘unremitting’. Lawyers have had to move home, ensure their children are accompanied to and from school and, when the state provides them, use security guards and bullet-proof vehicles.

The Caravana report will claim that the state is often complicit in the persecution of lawyers, many of whom have faced spurious criminal charges or been falsely imprisoned. State security bodies have also tapped lawyers’ telephones, intercepted emails and compiled dossiers on their families, the report will say.

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