The commander of the Colombian Armed Forces has reiterated his belief in the innocence of an army colonel sentenced to 30 years in prison for forced disappearances.
In an interview on the television program Pregunta Yamid General Alejandro Navas said that Colonel Alfonso Plazas Vega is “a man who defended the democracy of the country” and went on to call him “a national hero.”
“We support the colonel, we have strong inner confidence that he is innocent, and it will continue that way until it is proved otherwise by the Colombian courts,” said Navas, who last week assumed the role of military commander when President Juan Manuel Santos made changes in the military leadership.
Colonel Alfonso Plazas Vega was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the disappearance of 10 people in the aftermath of the attack on the Palace of Justice in 1985.
In an interview with La F.m. on Monday, just a week after his appointment to the role of head of the Colombian army, General Navas said that he believed Plazas Vega was innocent and thought the case against him was based on “false testimony and fabricated evidence.”
The Families of the Victims of the Palace of Justice condemned the statements made by Navas Tuesday saying he “should respect judicial rulings and not interfere” and critizing him for “contributing to a climate of intimidation” surrounding the case.
In the coming days, Colombian courts will rule on the sentence of Plazas Vega after his defense appealed against last year’s sentence.