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Cablegate: Uribe Denounces Soacha Defendants' Release, Soldiers

VZCZCXYZ0000
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #0035 0132115
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 132115Z JAN 10
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2017
INFO RHEHAAA/NATIONAL SECURITY COUNCIL WASHINGTON DC
RHMFISS/HQ USSOUTHCOM MIAMI FL
RHMFIUU/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/FBI WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEHBO/AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
RUEHC/DEPT OF LABOR WASHINGTON DC
RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO
RUEHZP/AMEMBASSY PANAMA
RUEKJCS/SECDEF WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS BOGOTA 000035

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PGOV PTER KJUS CO
SUBJECT: URIBE DENOUNCES SOACHA DEFENDANTS' RELEASE, SOLDIERS
RESTRICTED TO BASE

REF: BOGOTA25

1. Seven additional Soacha "false positive" -- military murders
presented as combat kills -- defendants were ordered released on
January 12 because they had been held in pre-trial detention longer
than the legal limit. Defense Minister Gabriel Silva Lujan
announced on January 10 that the 17 Soacha defendants released
January 7 on the same procedural grounds (reftel) were restricted
to the 13th Artillery Battalion's base in Bogota. The defendants
will work internally on the base until the completion of their
trial. The Ministry of Defense's Human Rights Office could not
immediately confirm that the same restriction will be applied to
all released military defendants in the Soacha case, but post will
continue to monitor the situation. The MOD reiterated the
Ministry's commitment to support the civilian justice system in its
investigations of human rights violations.

2. On January 11, President Uribe denounced the recent releases of
suspects of serious crimes based on time limits in pre-trial
detention. He deplored the release of the 17 Soacha military
defendants as well as the December 30 release of six alleged
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) members. Uribe
further expressed concern that the international community would
view the releases as evidence that the GOC tolerates impunity.

3. Bogota Human Rights Ombudsman Volmar Perez called for the
pre-trial detention limit to be doubled in cases of alleged human
rights violations. Inspector General Alejandro Ordonez
(Procurador), charged with disciplinary investigations of
government employees, announced an investigation into decisions for
evidence of negligence. Ordonez sharply criticized the Superior
Judicial Council for taking four months to rule on a defense
motion. Acting Prosecutor General Guillermo Mendoza condemned the
defense's delay tactics and reiterated his office's determination
to appeal. Lawyers for the family members of the victims announced
they would request the International Criminal Court to review the
case.
BROWNFIELD

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