Six Colombian soldiers accused of murdering a family in a “false positive” killing have been released from jail, after a one-year deadline for their trial expired.
The slaughter happened at a billiard hall in San Marcos village in the southern department of Huila in 2008. The soldiers allegedly killed the family of five and passed them off as members of the FARC‘s 17th Front.
The soldiers were released because their deadline to be called to trial had exceeded 12 months. They must now wait in their homes for another 90 days while legal proceedings continue, on the orders of a judge from the Second Municipal Court of Neiva.
Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s office is investigating more than 3,000 cases of “false positives” – a term used to describe the military murdering civilians then passing them off as armed combatants to inflate their kill rate.
The scandal first came to light in 2008, when men who had disappeared from Soacha, a town south of Bogota, were found in a mass grave near the Venezuelan border. It was discovered the men had been registered by the army as guerrillas killed in combat.