Colombia: colonel exonerated in ‘disappearances’

Colombia's Supreme Court exonerated a retired army colonel on Dec. 16 who had been found guilty of the forced disappearances of two people he escorted away from the 1985 Palace of Justice siege, ordering the colonel's immediate release. Luis Alfonso Plazas Vega was detained after a prosecutor re-opened investigations into disappearances related to the siege in 2006 and has spent the last eight years in custody. Originally charged with forcibly disappearing 11 people, he was convicted by Bogotá's Superior Court for two of the alleged disappearances and sentenced to 30 years in prison. The Supreme Court reversed that conviction with a 5-3 vote, finding there was not enough evidence to convict Plazas Vega and stating they did not find witnesses credible. The court assured that the decision came after prolonged deliberating and analyzing all of the evidence, and that this decision does not bar future investigations into disappearances after the siege.

From Jurist, Dec. 17. Used with permission.