Ombudsman protests figures: most detainees released without charges

ESMAD riot police unit in the northeast of Colombia.

Colombia’s Ombudsman’s Office told the country’s Senate that the vast majority of more than 800 farmers and miners who were arrested during national protests in August were never charged.

Jorge Olatora, of the Human Right Ombudsman Office, presented the statistics to the Senate during a debate about the affects of the rural strikes lasting 17 days.

According to the Ombudman’s numbers, of the 825 protesters captured by police during the protest, 638 were released after proving innocent of disorderly conduct. There were 101 minors included in police arrest records.

Another 187 of the detainees were eventually charged with disorderly conduct.

There were also 12 deaths reported during the protests, including a sick person being transported to the hospital in ambulance and a man who tripped over a road block, slitting his throat.

The report also detailed 103 petitions to investigate instance of police violence and brutality aimed against protesters.

Reportedly, 13,000 citizens who were not participating in the protests were affected by obstructed roads blocking food supplies. The report also documented 41 temporarily obstructed medical missions crossing the roadblocks to treat the sick and wounded during the strike.

The Ombudsman called on the Senate to address citizen concerns to prevent similar strikes from occurring in the future. The official called on protesters to refrain from blocking roads as well as asking police to respect protester’s right to peaceful protest.


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