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Triston Jay Amero [aka Lestat Montevideo]
Paul Wolf
Attorney at Law
Web Link: Click Here

Paul Wolf
Attorney at Law
PO Box 11244, Washington, D.C. 20008-1244
Tel. (202) 674-9653, Fax. (202) 364-6188

August 5, 2006

Pablo Montenegro
First Secretary
Embassy of Bolivia
3014 Massachusetts Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20008

Dear Dr. Montenegro:

It was a pleasure to meet with you last week. Although my intention was only to inquire about the notarization of documents for Bolivian courts, I welcomed our discussion about the Tristan Amero (Lestat Montevideo) case. As you are aware there are serious concerns about Mr. Amero's rights since he was imprisoned by Bolivian authorities.

First, Mr. Amero has been denied access to legal representation, and has had problems communicating with his mother. We have already registered this complaint with U.S. Embassy officials. Please see the enclosed email from Julie Grant of the US Embassy in La Paz, and the report of Roberto Quiroz Guill‚n, regarding the confiscation of telephone calling cards sent to Mr. Amero by his mother as "evidence". In Mr. Guill‚n's report, please note that Mr. Amero asked the Defensor del Pueblo for help in finding a lawyer. Mr. Amero has had great difficulty in finding a lawyer because of his isolation from the world. It was only in the last week or so that we have succeeded in finding a lawyer who could gain access to Mr. Amero. I have personally tried on three different days to contact Mr Amero having been authorized to do so by his family and as an attorney, but have never been permitted to speak with him. Each time I identified myself as an attorney, and each time, the guards told me to call "tomorrow" and would give no further explanation.

Mr. Amero's incommunicado detention violates his right to legal representation guaranteed by Article 14(3)(d) of the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights ("ICCPR"), article 8(2)(d) of the American Convention on Human Rights, and article 11(1) the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which reflects customary international law. The individuals involved in perpetuating this violation are also committing an international crime under article 67(1)(d) of the Statute of the International Criminal Court.

In addition, we understand that all of Mr. Amero's money was confiscated. We hereby request an accounting of the property of Mr. Amero that has been seized by Bolivian authorities. This includes money and stock certificates, as well as the calling cards sent by his mother. Mr. Amero should be allowed use his money to buy food and potable water in Chonchocoro prison, to pay for his legal defense, and to pay for necessary medical treatment. Such action is also denying Mr. Amero his right to legal representation as well as his right to property under article 21 of the American Convention on Human Rights.

Public statements by President Morales have seriously harmed Mr. Amero's ability to receive a fair trial. The prosecutors are under significant pressure to find Mr. Amero guilty, because the President of Bolivia publicly announced he is guilty. Such public pronouncements jeopardize Mr. Amero's right to be presumed innocent in article 14(2) of the ICCPR and article 8(2) of the American Convention on Human Rights. This right is also protected by customary international law as reflected in Article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in Principle 36(1) of the U.N. Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment.

The right to presumption of innocence requires that an individual not be prejudged. This right requires that all public officials of the state prosecuting an individual must not make statements expressly stating or implying that guilt of a person who has not yet been convicted. This principle has been interpreted as a fundamental principle which protects everybody against being treated by public officials as if they were guilty of an offence even before such guilt is established by a competent court.

We believe that the statements of President Morales have endangered the life of Mr. Amero. When the crime was re-enacted, a large crowd formed, attacking Mr. Amero with sticks and rocks. The re-enactment had to be cancelled that day. We understand that a reward has been offered for the murder of Mr. Amero, who has been justifiably afraid to leave his prison cell. Someone recently threw a dead rat into his cell. The right to security of person is found in Article 10 of the ICCPR as well as Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 7 of the American Convention on Human Rights, and Article XXV of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man. We ask that the prison authorities keep Mr. Amero segregated from other prisoners, who may have been motivated by the President's statements.

We also understand that Bolivian law does not permit the defense to have access to exculpatory evidence possessed by the prosecution, and that hearsay evidence is admissible to some extent in Bolivian courts. Such practices raise serious concerns about whether the Bolivian courts can provide Mr. Amero a fair trial. Please be kind enough to provide us further information about both these issues.

It is in your government's interest to ensure that Mr. Amero's human rights are respected and that any legal procedure he will face complies with international standards for fair trials. You failure to do so will give rise to the international responsibility of your government and may also create criminal and civil responsibility for the individuals involved in violating Mr. Amero's human rights.

Bolivia ratified the American Convention on Human Rights on 20 June 1979 and deposited this instrument a month later. Bolivia has also declared that it recognizes the jurisdiction of the Inter- American Court of Human Rights under article 62. In reference to the ICCPR, Bolivia has ratified both the treaty and the 1st Optional Protocol on 12 November 1982 and is therefore amenable to individual complaints. Also note that the circumstances described herein indicate that this may be a case of arbitrary detention that can immediately be brought to the attention of the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention.

I hope that to ensure Mr. Amero's human rights you will allow me and other human rights defenders to visit him in prison and to observe the conditions of his imprisonment. Thank you for your prompt consideration of these matters and for your timely reply.


Paul Wolf
Attorney for Dawna Scheda
cc: Dawna Scheda, Rigoberto Paredes, Marshall Derks, and Julie Grant.

Just in case you forgot - read the Universal declaration of Human Rights
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