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15 unions worldwide have now signed an international agreement on defending education and employment standards in the context of global marketisation. Together, these unions represent more than half a million tertiary education workers around the world.

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Help ensure a fair trial for Dr Beltrán in Colombia

Help ensure a fair trial for Dr Beltrán in Colombia

On 22nd May 2009 Dr Miguel Angel Beltrán Villegas, a Colombian academic studying in Mexico, was detained by the Mexican immigration authorities at the request of the Colombian Government. He was flown back to Bogota where, the following day, he was charged with the crimes of ‘rebellion’ and ‘criminal conspiracy for terrorist purposes’. He has been detained since then in a high security prison, without trial.

Dr Beltrán is an academic widely respected by both colleagues and students who have spoken out against his detention. Before his arrest, he was carrying out post doctorate research in Latin American Studies at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. He also has a Masters degree in Social Sciences from the same institution and another in History and Sociology from the National University of Colombia. Dr Beltrán has written academic papers on the armed conflict in Colombia, and it appears that he has been detained as a consequence of this.

UCU invited Dr Beltrán to address our annual congress in May, and we now understand that he is to stand trial in court proceedings starting on 12 April. We fear that there is a strong possibility that the trial will not be fair or transparent. General secretary Sally Hunt has written to UK foreign secretary David Miliband asking him to ensure a fair trial. We have also encouraged members to write letters using our web-campaigning facility. You can see Sally Hunt’s letter here (.pd)

You can see the model member’s letter here: www.ucu.org.uk/takeaction_drbeltran

For more about Dr Beltran, click here: www.justiceforcolombia.org/?link=3_0_2

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