RealNews

Group wary of antiterror law

An anti-terrorism law just approved by the Colombian Senate will lead government forces to commit abuses such as torture and perhaps disappearances, Jose Miguel Vivanco, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Americas division, said Thursday. “Effectively, it’s going to produce abuses,” Vivanco said of the bill that would allow the army to detain suspected terrorists without a warrant for up to 36 hours to verify their identities and determine whether they have any arrest warrants pending. “The major risk is torture,” Vivanco argued during an impromptu debate with Defense Minister Martha Lucía Ramírez during a news conference that followed a private meeting. “The step between torture and forced disappearance is very thin.” Ramírez called the conference to release a long-awaited document that lays out President Alvaro Uribe’s national security strategy for bringing stability to a nation facing challenges from a powerful leftist insurgency, rightist paramilitary groups and drug traffickers. The document was handed out to reporters but is embargoed until Uribe makes it public next week. Full Story

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