Colombia’s prosecution is set to call the first policeman who allegedly was involved in the mass killing of anti-government protesters earlier this year to court, local media reported on Wednesday.
According to newspaper El Espectador, suspended police major Jorge Mario Molano will face homicide charges for the murder of an anti-government protesters in Ibague, the capital of the Tolima province.
The victim, Santiago Murillo, was murdered on May 2, allegedly by the cop who has denied this.
Murillo was one of at least 77 anti-government protesters who were murdered in an apparent attempt to quell the mass protests that kicked off on April 28, according to human rights organizations.
At least 47 of these murders were committed by cops, according to human rights organization Temblores, which has investigated the violence.
According to investigative journalism website Cuestion Publica, sources at the district prosecution in Cali said that they are close to calling extremist supporters of far-right President Ivan Duque to court.
These reported court proceedings followed criminal charges pressed by human rights attorney Sebastian Caballero against Defense Minister Diego Molano, the National Police and Cali businessman Andres Escobar for their alleged involvement in kidnapping, torture, forced disappearances and murder.
Cali’s district prosecution was only considering pursuing charges against civilians taking part in the attacks against participants in the protests that kicked off on April 28.
Although it has not been possible to establish how many people would be covered by this decision of the 94th Prosecutor’s Office specialized in Human Rights, the crimes that they would consider charging the armed civilians with are: usurpation of functions and abuse of authority.
Senator Ivan Cepeda also pressed criminal charges against Molano, claiming that the minister’s failure to condemn the attacks on protesters “in reality endorsed this new form of paramilitarism” in which government supporters attack and kill government opponents in collusion with police.
Multiple videos have been recorded showing the use of firearms by armed civilians in the presence of police officers.
Senator Ivan Cepeda
Prosecutor General Francisco Barbosa, one of the president’s best friends, did not confirm the reports.
The chief prosecutor downplayed the violence before the human rights commission of the Organization of American States (OAS) earlier this month after the Duque administration was put on a watchlist for despots.
A special committee of the OAS’ Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) has been following up on progress to effectively try and punish those who took part in the mass killing of protesters.
Following the instruction of a congressional committee, the US government may cut aid for Colombia’s National Police if Barbosa fails to effectively prosecute and punish those responsible for the state terror campaign.