Colombia’s Vice President Angelino Garzon condemned on Monday the lenient treatment of ex-army officers detained in the Tolemaida military detention center, local media reported.
“It should be clear that individuals who have been convicted for serious crimes, including crimes against humanity, should not have any privileges”, Garzon said.
The statement from Garzon’s office came after an investigation by Semana magazine exposed the extravagant privileges that 269 former officers in the Tolemaida prison enjoy.
The investigation discovered that detainees could easily make business deals, go to local restaurant and clubs, spend holidays in resorts on the Caribbean coast and retain salaries and other benefits from their army careers. Prisoners interviewed by Semana say that, as in the past, any measures that curb the liberties of detainees will eventually be waived as there are too many officials keen to ingratiate themselves with members of the incarcerated military elite.
The families of the army murder victims have expressed outrage over the leniency shown to the perpetrators of these crimes. Senate President Armando Benedetti declared furthermore on Sunday that the “state is behaving worse than terrortists,” by affording luxuries to be granted to inmates.
According to Caracol Radio, Prosecutor General Viviane Morales has arranged a meeting on Monday to discuss how best to conduct a formal investigation into the matter.