MPs and Trade Union Leaders Hand in 13,000 Signature Petition to Free Imprisoned Union Leader Huber Ballesteros
MPs and the General Secretaries of several major trade unions, including Rob Flello MP, Lord John Monks, TUC’s Paul Nowak, UNITE Chair Tony Woodhouse and CWU GS Billy Hayes, today hand in a petition to the Colombian Embassy calling for the release of imprisoned trade union leader Huber Ballesteros. Mr Ballesteros was imprisoned on August 25th as he was leading mass strikes across the country.
The letter, organised by Justice for Colombia in cooperation with Labourstart, was signed by over 13,000 people in over 20 countries. The letter states that “Mr Ballesteros has been jailed for his political beliefs and his trade union activism rather than for any crime” and goes on to say that “We believe that Mr Ballesteros is innocent and that his detention is a severe violation of human rights.”
Mariela Kohon, Director of Justice for Colombia commented that ‘this petition shows the widespread international rejection of the Colombian state’s practice of imprisoning trade unionists“ and emphasised that ‘the unjust imprisonment of leaders like Huber, and the violent repression of legitimate social protest raise questions as to the sincerity of the government’s commitment to democratic values, like free speech.’