FARC leader convicted of murdering archbishop

A Colombian court has convicted the FARC’s supreme leader, “Timochenko,” of the murder of an archbishop in 2002.

The guerrilla leader, real name Rodrigo Londoño Echeverry, was sentenced in absentia to 25 years in jail, alongside other alleged FARC members Noel Mata Mata (alias “Efrain Guzman), Jorge Torres Victoria (alias “Pablo Catatumbo”) and Luciano Arango (alias “Ivan Marquez”).

The four guerrillas were accused of storming a church and murdering Archbishop Isaias Duarte Cancino at the end of a group marriage ceremony of 102 couples. Priest Joaquin Cortes was also injured.

A prosecutor from Colombia’s National Unit of Human Rights linked the murder to the FARC in 2001.

Today’s judgement by a Cali court said, “There is no doubt that the murder of Archbishop Isaias Duarte Cancino was related to his religious status and position. (…) Through press releases and in his position as Archbishop of Cali he protested the reprehensible acts constantly carried out by guerrillas in this country.”

The judge reiterated calls for the capture of the convicted rebels.

Another guerrilla, Alexander de Jesus Zapata, alias “Cortico,” was convicted of the same crime in January 2005 and sentenced to 36 years in prison.

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