A Colombian judge on Thursday ordered the release of seventeen soldiers implicated in the extrajudicial killings of eleven young men from Soacha in 2008.
Defense lawyers petitioned the judge for the release of their clients, on the grounds that the soldiers have not been granted a trial within the 90 day timeframe mandated by Colombian law. More than 150 days have passed since the arrest of the soldiers.
The prosecutor of the Human Rights Unit in charge of the case asked the judge not to release the soldiers because some of the delay was caused by the defense lawyers themselves. The judge responded that even though some of the delay was caused by the lawyers, he still had to honor the petition and release the accused soldiers from prison.
The soldiers are suspected of involvement in the disappearance of eleven youths from Soacha in 2008, who were kidnapped, murdered, and then reported as members of illegal armed groups killed in combat.
This case gave rise to the national scandal about extrajudicial killings known as “false positives.”
Numerous other cases resembling this incident have been reported around the country, and the Prosecutor General’s Office is investigating around 1,200 similar cases.