Friday’s chaotic arrest spurred the latest crisis in the country’s ongoing peace process as it followed a court order to release the FARC leader, who tried to commit suicide hours before his release and recapture amid rumors he would be extradited.
A judge deemed the arrest legal on Sunday, but this decision was challenged by both the defense attorney of Santrich, whose real name is Seuxis Hernandez, and the Inspector General’s Office’s delegate.
Inspector General Fernando Carrillo then appointed special investigator Maria Lourdes Hernandez to ‘resolve doubts’ about the legality of the FARC leader’s arrest and whether due process was respected.
According to Santrich’s defense attorney, the arrest was illegal, because it should have been warranted by the Supreme Court considering he is a congressman, was virtually unconscious when he was read his rights and was never effectively released from the custody of prison authority INPEC as ordered by the war crimes tribunal.
The special investigator will determine whether the challenge has legal standing or the prosecution may take the controversial drug trafficking charges forward.
Carrillo dismissed the argument of the FARC leader’s defense, but agreed to appoint the special investigator to investigate a flurry of doubts that followed INPEC’s initial refusal to release Santrich on Wednesday while the prosecution sought new evidence that would justify an arrest.
We consider that Hernandez was guaranteed the rights to legal assistance from his trusted lawyers, to his protection by being transferred to the prosecutor’s bunker, to be examined and evaluated by trusted physicians, as well as by a physician from the Medical Examiner’s Office, and to be referred to a specialized medical institution within a reasonable period of time.
Inspector General Fernando Carrillo
A Bogota court ordered both a criminal and a disciplinary investigation into the prison authorities for their failure to release Santrich on Wednesday when the JEP rejected a US extradition request and ordered his “immediate release” as part of a 2016 peace deal.
Santrich was arrested again on a controversial drug trafficking charge that according to the war crimes tribunal was unsubstantiated in a process that was marred by “serious irregularities.”
However, the prosecution said Friday that US authorities had surrendered new evidence that would substantiate the drug trafficking charge, and warrant his arrest.
As yet, there has been no official action or investigation into whether the human rights of Santrich were respected during the arrest itself, despite the arrest taking place one hour after Santrich had tried to kill himself and while he was barely conscious and allegedly hallucinating at the time of his arrest.
Following the arrest, FARC leader Rodrigo Londoño, a.k.a. “Timochenko” summoned all the FARC’s former commanders and met with UN peace observers for an emergency meeting.
The US claim that the virtually blind former FARC ideologue conspired to smuggle 10 tons of cocaine had already triggered a major crisis in the peace process, which according to the United Nations created major judicial insecurity among former combatants, hundreds of whom have since joined dissident FARC groups.
Timochenko begged remaining FARC members not to abandon the peace process, despite “forces of a fascist nature with a great deal of power and the capacity to manipulate” the battered peace process.