Three people will face decades of jail time after they were convicted on Wednesday for their involvement in the kidnapping and murder of 11 law makers in Colombia’s south-western city of Cali, according to a statement from the office of the Prosecutor General.
Under the guise of National Police uniforms, on 11 April 2002 FARC guerillas stormed the legislature office in Cali, in the south-western state of Valle del Cauca, claiming there was a bomb threat. They evacuated the building and directed 12 local legislators to a bus, where in the men were informed that they were being taken hostage, according to Colombia’s Semana news magazine.
For 11 of those men, the ordeal lasted five years more: they were executed in 2007 by their kidnappers. The last surviving kidnap victim, Sigifredo Lopez, was released two years later in 2009.
FACT SHEET: Colombia’s kidnapping statistics
At the trial in Cali, the two men and one woman were sentenced for their roles in the kidnapping and subsequent murders.
Orlando Burbano Gomez was sentenced to 46 years in prison on aggravated homicide and kidnapping charges. He was also ordered to pay a fine that is 2,500 times the monthly value of Colombia’s current minimum wage salary.
Ciro Antonio Escalante Jaimes, alias ‘Sebastian,’ leader of the guerilla faction in charge of the hostages, received 35 years on aggravated homicide and kidnapping charges.
Yenny Suleidi Cordoba Muñoz was sentenced to 10 years in prison on kidnapping charges as well as being an accomplice to the murders of the hostages. She was also ordered to pay a fine, that is, 1000 times the monthly value of Colombia’s current minimum wage salary.
- Sentenciados tres implicados en secuestro y homicidio de diputados del Valle (Office of the Prosecutor General)
- La condena a los secuestradores de los diputados del Valle (La Semana)