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Profile of Dr Miguel Beltrán

11 April 2011 | last updated: 14 March 2019

Who is Miguel Beltrán?

Dr Miguel Beltrán is a Colombian academic. He has been imprisoned since May 2009 accused of 'rebellion' and is currently detained in La Picota Prison, Bogota, without being convicted of any crime. 

Dr Beltrán has taught at various Colombian universities, has received several awards and has published numerous academic texts. He is widely respected by both students and colleagues at the Colombian Association of University Professors (ASPU), who are campaigning for his release. He has also published research on the Colombian conflict and is an outspoken critic of Colombian government human rights abuses and it appears he has been targeted as a result.
Why was he arrested?

He had been carrying out post-doctoral research at the National University of Mexico when the Mexican authorities detained him at the request of the Colombian government. He was then illegally deported to Colombia, during which time he was submitted to torture, denied communication, and had his face covered with no indication of where he was being taken.

Dr Beltrán has been consistently denied due process and shortly after his arrest, then Colombian President Alvaro Uribe publicly accused him of being 'one of the most dangerous terrorists of the FARC'.  
How long has Dr Beltrán been in prison?

Since his detention he has been held in a prison patio where 90% of the inmates are paramilitaries, putting his life at risk. He has also been denied access to water and medical attention.
Why has Dr Beltrán's trial taken so long?

Dr Beltrán's trial began on 24 May 2010, over a year after his imprisonment, but has been postponed twice since then and is due to reopen in May 2011.
One reason for this is that irregularities emerged in the evidence against him. In a previous court, a witness for the prosecution testified that the supposed evidence against him had been manipulated.

There are serious concerns that the trial will not be fair, given the irregularities he has faced up to this point.
Please click here to see a CV detailing Dr Beltran’s work [93kb].