A fugitive army major convicted of false positives and sentenced to 53 years in jail has been discovered and recaptured following a police response to an incident of domestic violence in northeastern Colombia, local media has reported Thursday.
Retired army major Marco Wilson Quijano Mariño escaped from military prison several weeks ago. This week, he was apprehended by agents of the Technical Investigation Team (CTI) in the Nice neighborhood of the city of Cucuta in the state of Norte de Santander reported Colombia’s El Tiempo.
According to the prosecutor’s office, even though Quijano was sentenced to 53 years in military prison for the extrajudicial killing of civilians which initiated the “false positives” scandal, he had recently escaped.
Domestic violence call leads to recapture
Quijano was only recaptured when officers of the CTI attended to a call of domestic violence in Cucuta where his identity was confirmed.
Alexandra Ladino, chief of the National Directorate of the Joint Specialized Judicial Police Prosecution said Quijano is convicted of offenses of enforced disappearance, aggravated murder, conspiracy and forgery of public documents.
The officer was investigated and convicted of the death of Fair Leonardo Porras Bernal , one of a group of young men from Soacha who were taken by the army to Norte de Santander where they were murdered and presented as guerrillas killed in combat in 2008.
The subsequent investigation launched the “false positives” scandal which centered around the extrajudicial killings of thousands of civilians by members of the armed forces who dressed their victims as guerrillas in order to present them as combat kills.
FACT SHEET: False Positives scandal
The false positives scandal broke when 22 men from Soacha, a town close to Colombia’s capital Bogota, were found dead close to the Venezuelan border after having been recruited for work by the army.
Eight members of Colombia’s military were ordered to serve up to 55 years in military prison for the killing of two civilians following an investigation into the Soacha deaths.
This case sparked a scandal that eventually would led to the dismissal of 27 members of the military, including three generals and 11 colonels and led to the departure of General Mario Montoya, commander of the Army, reported Colombia’s weekly news-magazine Semana.
The victims’ families made a request that the former soldiers serve their sentence in a regular prison instead of a military prison. Family members argued that locking up the condemned men in a military garrison is “like they’re at home, because they have many benefits and have no restraints.”
The prosecutors office has said it will investigate how the retired major managed to get out of the military garrison where he should have been serving his jail time.
“The prosecution wants to make a call to the people responsible for the detention and custody of persons deprived of liberty,” said the prosecutor’s office, and added that it is investigating if there was complicity of the prison warden.