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Interview with imprisoned human rights defender Julián Gil amid Covid threat

It has been almost two years since Julián Gil – then technical secretary of the social movement People’s Congress – was imprisoned. His arrest on 6 June 2018 sent shock waves across social activists, and human rights defenders who organised solidarity protest chanting – Being a social leader is not a crime! The case of Julián Gil manifests the revival of the Colombian state strategy to silence social leaders by accusing them of connections to armed insurgent groups. The Attorney General Office accused Julián of indirect participation in warfare as a member of the ELN insurgency; the prosecution’s case against Julián rests exclusively on the testimony of one person and reportedly does not have material evidence.

It has been almost two years since Julián Gil – then technical secretary of the social movement People’s Congress – was imprisoned.

His arrest on 6 June 2018 sent shock waves across social activists, and human rights defenders who organised solidarity protest chanting – Being a social leader is not a crime! The case of Julián Gil manifests the revival of the Colombian state strategy to silence social leaders by accusing them of connections to armed insurgent groups. The Attorney General Office accused Julián of indirect participation in warfare as a member of the ELN insurgency; the prosecution’s case against Julián rests exclusively on the testimony of one person and reportedly does not have material evidence.

Julián has demonstrated unbreakable spirit while awaiting trial in high-security prison La Picota in Bogota. He spearheaded two community libraries and organised a fundraising campaign to provide inmates with essential hygiene products. While imprisoned, Julián also graduated from a CLASCO (Latin American Council of Social Sciences) specialisation in Public Policies for Equality in Latin America. Julián’s final dissertation titled “How Mining Projects in Colombia Violate Human Rights in the Territories” reflects his lifelong passion for peace and social justice.

We would like to invite you to read the most recent interview with Julián, where he talks from prison about the danger faced by thousands of inmates amid the COVID-19 pandemic in Colombia.

The translated interview in English by Peoples Dispatch 

The original interview in Spanish by El Salto Diario 

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