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Eduardo Umaña

Eduardo Umaña was a prominent human rights lawyer in Bogotá, Colombia who was involved in some of the key human rights cases, including the "disappearance" of another human rights lawyer, Alirio Pedraza, and the fate of the people "disappeared" by the Colombian military before they stormed the Palace of Justice in 1985. While we never met him directly, we worked on defending him. A key moment was in 1991 when he was in his office and told that gunmen were on their way to kill him. The timely intervention by Senator Edward Kennedy ensured that the US Embassy got on the ball and offered protection. Once the Embassy's offer was made, the gunmen seemed to simply go away. However in 1998, people visiting with him drew guns and killed him in his office. Unfortunately, in Colombia, to be actively associated with or involved in human rights protection earns you a death sentence.