Five soldiers have been given prison sentences due to their alleged involvement in extrajudicial killings of civilians, also known as “false positives“, during Colombia’s long running civil conflict, local media reported on Friday.
The men have each been sentenced to 43 years in prison for their involvement in the killing of farmer and union leader Israel Gonzalez before passing him off as a “successful” guerrilla kill, otherwise known as a “false positive” case, El Colombiano newspaper reported.
False positives refer to the practice of soldiers dressing civilian victims as guerrillas in order to present them as combat kills, a practice which was at its height during the presidency of Alvaro Uribe, between 2002 and 2010.
FACT SHEET: False Positives
According to Colombian authorities dealing with the case, the five soldiers arrived at Gonzalez’s home on January 24, 2008, and took him to a remote location where he was shot, Caracol Radio reported.
The soldiers then dressed Gonzalez in army fatigues and put a 38 revolver in his hand before planting a radio, a grenade and an armband relating to the 21st front of the FARC — Colombia’s largest armed rebel group — on the body.
The soldiers implicated in the case were Angel Alberto Rios, Miller Hernando Castillo, Juan Pablo Ducuara Ramirez, Sneider Camacho Peña and Adalberto Paredes Oviedo.
During Uribe’s two terms as Colombian president, the number of extrajudicial killings by the Armed Forces rose 154%, according to a 2013 report by the Universities of Sabana and Externado. The rate increased from 0.11 per 100,000 inhabitants between 1990 and 1999 to 0.28 between 2000 and 2009.
Colombia’s government, seeking to end the country’s 50-year-long armed conflict, is currently holding talks with the FARC rebel group in Cuba. There are currently over 2,000 “false-positives” cases currently being tried in Colombia.
- Condenan a 43 años de prisión a cinco militares por “falso positivo” en el Tolima (El Espectador)
- Condenan a 43 años de cárcel a cinco militares por falso positivo (El Colombiano)
- Por falso positivo condenan a cinco militares a 43 años de cárcel (Caracol Radio)
- Falsos positivos aumentaron más del 150 % con Uribe (Semana)