The judge who sentenced retired Colombian army Colonel Alfonso Plazas Vega to 30 years in prison in early June has fled the country after receiving threats, reports El Tiempo.
Judge Maria Stella Jara condemned Vega to three decades behind bars for his role in the forced disappearance of eleven civilians in the 1985 army siege of the Palace of Justice, which had been taken over by M-19 guerrillas.
Shortly before leaving the country, Jara submitted a court order, including the opinions of doctors, that Vega be transferred from the military hospital he is currently being held in to La Picota prison in Bogota.
Outgoing president Alvaro Uribe strongly criticized the sentencing of the retired colonel, saying that the army commander who was simply doing his job had been sentenced, while “the criminal actors, none of them are in jail.”
Uribe followed up on this criticism by proposing new legislation that would protect members of Colombia’s armed forces from civil prosecution.
The president’s views on the matter came up during the presidential debate between Juan Manuel Santos and Antanas Mockus, who said that it was wrong for Uribe to intervene in the nation’s justice system.