Extradited Colombians must be allowed to see their families

March 1, 2017

MAILED VIA USPS CERTIFIED MAIL
Juan Carlos Pinzón
1724 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20036

Dear Ambassador Pinzón,

We write this letter in support of a request that you insist to the appropriate U.S. authority to honor the condition of extradition as set forth by your Supreme Court to allow extradited Colombian nationals visits by their close family relatives. This condition is in all extradition orders issued by your Supreme Court. The U.S. agreed to this condition.

Many close Colombian family members of extradited Colombians are being denied visas by the Embassy in Colombia unreasonably and often precisely because of the fact that their loved ones are incarcerated. The U.S. cannot frustrate the purpose of the condition by denying the visas. The visas must be approved in order carry out the condition. If the U.S. government resists or ignores your request, we urge you to take this matter up in the Federal Courts. You will be assured of a fair hearing.

Your Supreme Court conditioned the extraditions as follows:

The National Government must condition the delivery on the agreement by the requesting country, in accordance with internal policy on the subject, that it shall offer rational and concrete possibilities so the requested Individual may have regular contact with his closest relatives, whereas the 1991 Political Constitution, Article 42, recognizes the family as a primary nucleus in society and is guaranteed protection, and recognizes its privacy, dignity and honor; strengthened by the additional protection granted to this nucleus by the American Convention on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, in their Articles 17 and 23, respectively. (Emphasis supplied)

“The Court additionally notes that pursuant to Article 189, Paragraph 2 or the Political Constitution, it is the Government, headed by the President of the Republic as the leader on foreign policy and international relations, that must carefully monitor the above-mentioned conditions of extradition and likewise set the applicable consequences In the event of non compliance.”

In the original Spanish the order states:

Condicionamientos:

Así mismo, deberá condicionar la entrega a que el país requirente, de acuerdo con sus políticas internas sobre la materia, ofrezca posibilidades racionales y reales para que el solicitado pueda tener contacto regular con sus familiares más cercanos, considerando que el artículo 42 de la Constitución Política de 1991 califica a la familia como núcleo esencial de la sociedad, garantiza su protección y reconoce su honra, dignidad e intimidad, la cual también es protegida por la Convención Americana de Derechos Humanos y el Pacto Internacional de Derechos Civiles y Políticos en sus artículos 17 y 23, respectivamente.

Se advierte, además, que en razón de lo dispuesto en elnumeral 2° del artículo 189 de la Constitución Política, es del resorte del Presidente de la República, en su condición de jefe de Estado y supremo director de la política exterior y de las relaciones internacionales, realizar el respectivo seguimiento a los condicionamientos que se impongan a la concesión de la extradición, quien a su vez debe determinar las consecuencias que se deriven de su eventual incumplimiento.

The Bureau of Prisons (“BOP”) endorses the condition:

“Research shows that close and positive family relationships during incarceration reduce recidivism, improve an individual’s likelihood of finding and keeping a job after prison, and ease the harm to family members separated from their loved ones.   .   .   .”  https://www.justice.gov/prison-reform#ConsultingReports

We have taken the liberty of sending this letter to you as an “open letter” so that all incarcerated extradited inmates can tell you of their own experiences so you can have an idea of the dimension of the problem.  We intend to bring one especially egregious case (a denial of a visa to a four year old) to the attention of the Federal Court in Brooklyn, New York in support of an order directing the Homeland Security Agency to comply with the family visitation condition. Our intention is to keep your embassy as well as your consul in New York, the Supreme Court of Colombia, and your Attorney General abreast of the litigation. According to the order of extradition your President is expressly charged with monitoring the compliance of this visitation condition, and you are his representative.

Faithfully yours,

David Zapp and Johanna Zapp

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