Wednesday, January 20

They investigate deaths in a Colombian prison in the March riots

A policeman in front of the La Modelo prison, in Bogotá, after a riot.

A policeman in front of the La Modelo prison, in Bogotá, after a riot.

The Attorney General’s Office (Public Ministry) opened a disciplinary investigation against three officials from the La Modelo prison in Bogotá, where 24 mutinous prisoners died and 90 more people were injured last March when supposedly protested to demand protection against covid-19

Those investigated are the director of La Modelo, Carlos Augusto Hincapié Franco; the director in charge, Major Jorge Gama Doza, and the Commander of Custody and Vigilance, Lieutenant Elizabeth Vergara Vergara.

“The control body investigates the alleged disciplinary responsibility of the directors and the surveillance commander during the confrontations between guard personnel of the Inpec (National Penitentiary and Prison Institute), and persons deprived of liberty,” the Attorney General’s Office detailed this Friday in a release.

Denuncia de Human Rights Watch

On November 24, Human Rights Watch (HRW) published a report in which notes that the deaths of the mutinous prisoners were “intentional”.

The document, prepared by experts from the Independent Forensic Expert Group (IFEG) and the International Rehabilitation Council for Torture Victims (IRCT) at the request of HRW, notes that “most of the gunshot wounds described in necropsy reports are consistent with the fact that have been inflicted with the intent to kill “.

It also mentions that “the autopsy reports do not register any indication of gunshot wounds that have been made solely for the purpose of injuring people, rather than killing them.”

The IFEG and the IRCT analyzed the 24 autopsy reports issued by the National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences of Colombia.

In addition to the La Modelo riot between the night of March 21 and the early morning of the following day, there were riots in about ten Colombian prisons.

Among them are those of La Picota and Buen Pastor, in Bogotá, the latter of women; as well as those of Cómbita, in the department of Boyacá (center); Picaleña, in Ibagué (center); Jamundí, in the southwest of the country, and Pedregal and Bellavista, in the northwest.

Investigation of the Attorney General’s Office

The Public Ministry indicated that “it is investigating the orders issued to apply the Contingency and Emergency Plan that the general director of INPEC publicized on March 19, and whose first point refers to the ‘contingencies due to mutiny of persons deprived of liberty.’ “.

All of this “in order to verify whether his responsibility could have been involved in the events that occurred on March 21, 2020” at La Modelo prison.

“The Public Ministry seeks to determine whether the alleged actions constitute disciplinary offenses and to clarify the determining reasons, the circumstances of time, manner and place in which they were committed, and the possible damage caused to the public administration,” the information added.

Progress of the Prosecutor’s Office

Last April, the Colombian Attorney General’s Office denounced that alias “Romaña”, one of the leaders of the FARC dissidents and author in the 1990s of mass kidnappings; as well as the National Liberation Army (ELN) were the instigators of the riots.

In August, Human Rights Watch met with the attorney general, Francisco Barbosa, who said that no one had been charged so far in the case.

“The attorney general maintained that prosecutors were pursuing three different lines of investigation into the instigation of the riots, deaths and injuries, and whether the prison guards had used excessive force. As of November 13, no charges had yet been filed in related to deaths or injuries, “the information added.

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