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Monday, January 18, 2010

Seven military men are condemned for false positives in La Guajira

(Translated by Emily Hansen, CSN’s Program Assistant)
In the midst of the controversy generated by the freeing of 29 military men involved in the murder of eleven people in Soacha, justice has been brought against two officials, one sub-official and four soldiers for the assassination of four civilians in San Juan del Cesar.
Thursday, January 14, 2010
           Since the discovery of the deaths of eleven youths in Soacha at the hands of military men of the 30th Brigade in North Santander ignited the false positives scandal in 2008, similar cases began appearing throughout the country in which supposed military men, especially in the army, were involved in the deaths of civilians who were dressed up to look like opponents that were killed in combat.
            Even as the country, especially the families of the victims of Soacha, hoped that justice would be brought against the defendants, a verdict was handed down liberating 29 military men due to legal technicalities.  The worst part is that the Defense argued that 18 additional military men accused of the same crime should be set free as well for the same reasons.
            However, some district attorneys and judges have demonstrated that justice can be brought against false positive perpetrators.   The proof is the decision that was just handed down by Judge Promiscuo of the San Juan del Cesar circuit in Guajira.  In this judgment Judge Promiscuo condemned seven military men to 24 years in prison.  The military men were part of the Narino Battalion of Barranquilla. The District Attorney accused them of aggravated homicide, forced displacement and false statements in public documents.
            The cases that one specialist district attorney investigated occurred on the 2nd of April, 2006 in the Guamachal area, where the bodies of Douglas Alberto Tavera Diaz, Dannis Diaz Sarmiento and others who could not be identified were found.  The military men claimed that the victims died in combat.
            The victims disappeared on March 28th of the same year.  They were last seen near the Universal Cemetery of Barranquilla by two people who offered them jobs working on the cotton farms in Valledupar. Inexplicably, they turned up dead five days later.
            The military men accused of the crime are Second Lieutenants of the Army Yamit Diaz Tovar and Wilmer Acosta Vela; the Sub-official is Orley Gutierrez Cabrera; and the professional soldiers are Wilmer Rafael Ramos Cantillo, Jonathan Martinez Ospino, Pedro Manuel Contreras Ricardo and Gilberto Carlos Rosado Rosado.  Initially they were all condemned to 40 years in prison, but after having accepted the anticipated sentence, they received a reduction in the sentence.

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