INDEPENDENT NEWS

Cablegate: Sentencing of Soldiers in Arauca Labor Case

Published: Thu 30 Aug 2007 09:22 PM
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SUBJECT: SENTENCING OF SOLDIERS IN ARAUCA LABOR CASE
1. A Bogota court sentenced four Colombian soldiers to 40
years each for murdering three union leaders in Saravena,
Arauca department on August 5, 2004. The court ruling,
announced August 28, found the soldiers guilty of executing
labor leaders Jairo Eduardo Prieto Chamucero, Hector Alirio
Martinez and Leonel Goyeneche Goyeneche and arranging the
bodies so that they appeared to have been guerrillas killed
in combat. The individuals sentenced were Sub-Lieutenant
Juan Pablo Ordonez, and soldiers Jhon Hernandez, Walter
Loaiza, and Oscar Hernandez of the Eighteenth Mechanized
Brigade, Second Division. A civilian, Daniel Caballero Rozo,
who served as guide for the unit, was also convicted and
sentenced to 40 years. Minister of Defense Juan Manuel
Santos said the ruling "ratifies the Government's policy that
actions outside of the law will be condemned, and underscores
the GOC's policy of respect for unionists."
2. The Embassy has repeatedly highlighted the importance of
resolving the Arauca case in meetings with the Prosecutor
General's Office, the Ministry of Defense, and the
Presidential Human Rights Program director. The case is also
one of the 204 priority labor cases being handled by the
Prosecutor General's special sub-unit investigating and
prosecuting violence against labor unionists.
Nichols
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