Case 2760 (BOLIVIA)

BACKGROUND:

  1. On December 5, 1977, the Commission received the following denunciation:

    "Vladimir Sattori Benquique, a student leader, 21 years old, was detained on August 21, 1976; he was transferred to the Ministry of the Interior, where he was beaten and one of his teeth was knocked out. On the following day, he was transferred to a government security office where he was beaten again. When he would not say what they wanted him to day, he received an electrical charge in his right thigh. He resisted. The second time he was tortured it was with an instrument somewhat like a pencil, from which he did not regain consciousness for three days later. Eight days after being detained, he was transferred to the city of Achokalla, where he was interrogated. They pretended to shoot him, with two burst of fire, interspersed with questions. They beat him again, and when he was beaten senseless, they wrapped him in a blanket and threw him down a well that was 6 1/2 to 7 feet deep, where he remained for 24 hours. Then he was transferred to Viacha, which is about thirteen and a half thousand feet above sea level, where he was kept for two months incommunicado. On November 4, 1976, he was transferred to the Bureau of Political Order (DOP), where he remained until December 24, 1976, when he was deported to Venezuela.
  2. In a note dated April 5, 1978, the Commission transmitted the pertinent parts of the denunciation to the Government of Bolivia, and asked it to provide the appropriate information.
  3. In a communication of June 2, 1978, the Government of Bolivia, without referring to torture or exile, replied to the Commission's request in the following terms:

    "During his terms of office as President of the Secondary Student Federation (FES), he was advised by the Bolivian Communist Party, from which he received economic aid. Vladimir Satorri made contact with Nilo Soruco and Enrique Portugal, both active militants in the Revolutionary Leftist Movement (MIR) and with Enrique Encinas, a member of the National Liberation Army (ELN), who proposed financing the student movement, in exchange for circulation of subversive propaganda on behalf of their organizations. In his own words, Mr. Sattori states that he had a copying machine in his possession, and that he had attended meetings of factory leaders, mineworkers and university students, where there was discussion of the national subversive movement. In November 1977, he was in Venezuela, and currently has been granted amnesty under the General Amnesty of January 1978.
  4. The pertinent parts of the Government's reply were transmitted to the claimant in a letter of June 28, 1978, and he was invited to make observations on the reply. To date, the complainant has made no observations on the Government's reply.

WHEREAS:

    1. The Government of Bolivia replied to the Commission's request for information on the events denounced, but without referring to torture or exile.
    2. Article 51.1 of the Regulations of the Commission provides as follow:

Article 51:

    1. The occurrence of the events on which information has been requested will be presumed to be confirmed if the Government referred to has not supplied such information within 180 days of the request, provided always, that the invalidity of the events denounced is not shown by other elements of proof.

THE INTER-AMERICAN COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS

RESOLVES:

    1. On the basis of Article 51.1 of the Regulations to presume the material events of the denunciation related to torture and exile to be confirmed.
    2. To declare that the Government of Bolivia violated (Article I) right to personal security and (Article VIII) right to residence and movement of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man.
    3. To recommend to the Government of Bolivia: a) that it order a complete and impartial investigation to determine responsibility for the events denounced, and to sanction those responsible for these events, in accordance with Bolivian law; b) to take the measures necessary to guarantee effective observance of the right of residence and movement upheld in the American Declaration; c) to inform Mr. Sattori, if it has not already done so, that he may return to the country at any time, and d) to inform the Commission within a maximum of 90 days as to the measures taken to put into practice the recommendations listed in the present Resolution.
    4. To communicate this decision to the Government of Bolivia and to the complainant.
    5. To include this Resolution in the Annual Report of the Commission to the General Assembly of the Organization of American States, in accordance with Article 9 (bis), paragraph c. iii of the Statute of the Commission, without prejudice to the fact that the Commission may at its next session, reconsider the case in the light of such matters as the Government may have adopted.

(Approved at the 610th meeting of March 7, 1979 (46th Session) and transmitted to the Government of Bolivia).