José Yimer Cartagena Usuga

José Yimer Cartagena Usuga, 30, was the vice president of the Peasant Association of Alto Sinú (ASODECAS) and a member of the leftist Patriotic March organisation.

On 10 January 2017, José was travelling by bus to Carepa in Antioquia for a meeting with the mayor to sign an agreement with him about fixing the roads in Saiza. His journey came to a sudden end when armed men in a white van stopped the bus and kidnapped him. The armed men threatened the witnesses on the bus that they were not to report the crime.

José Yimer ‘s body was found the next day, 11 January, with signs of torture and more than thirty stab wounds. It was also reported that he had a bag over his head and that his hands were tied behind his back.

ASODECAS defends the rights of peasants by claiming rights to healthcare and education for them. José was involved with the  campaign to substitute illicit crops in the area and wanted to teach the peasants how to deal with the army when they caused damage to their crops and property.

This campaign meant that he became a target for the paramilitary groups and he was attacked by the Gaitanist Self-Defense Group (AGC). They had warned him to stop trying to replace crops such as coca. He had been threatened several times before but did not report them for fear of something bad happening.

It is widely believed that an extremist right wing paramilitary group murdered him and while an investigation was launched no arrests have been made to date made for the crime.


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Region:Americas

Country:Colombia

Department/Province/State:Antioquia

Sex1:Male

Age:30

Date of Killing:11/01/2017

Previous Threats:Yes

Organisation:Asociación Campesina del Alto Sinú (Asodecas)

Sector or Type of Rights the HRD Worked On:ESC Rights

Sector Detail:Peasant communities

More information:Front Line Defenders

1This database records an individual's chosen gender identity. If they do not self-identify as male or female they can use the option of recording other/neither or use the term NBGI (non binary gender identity).