Prosecution ‘attempted to bribe witness’ in false positive case

Two prosecutors in a “false positive” case allegedly attempted to bribe an ex-paramilitary to testify against the military and deliver information surrounding the whereabouts of the victims’ bodies, according to an investigation.

Army commander Gustavo Enrique Soto and Lieutenant John Alexander Soacha Florian were eventually convicted of the murder of two brothers, one as young as 14, before presenting them as slain FARC members who had died in combat. They were sentenced to 32 and 28 years respectively in December 2010.

Former paramilitary Wilson Rodriguez Mimisica, however, apparently received $2,750 (COP5 million) in order to deliver information about the location of the victims’ bodies, who also claims he was offered a range of benefits in exchange for delivering his account against the soldiers, El Espectador reported.

The two prosecutors in question are Luz Margaret Sarquero and Martha Cuesta, both belonging to the National Unit of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

The investigative dossier states that on January 23, 2009, the two prosecutors “gave me COP90,000 ($50), telling me that this was the beginning of the promise to testify against these people.”

The ex-paramilitary claimed that the prosecutors took advantage of his legal ignorance and made him sign an affidavit, of which he was unaware of the content, without a lawyer present.

He said that he told his counsel what had occurred, just minutes before the trial got underway, regarding the delivery of the money and the alleged promises in return to link the soldiers to the extradjudicial executions.

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