A judge has ordered the release of 30 soldiers tied to the recent murder of a farmer in southwest Colombia, keeping just three army officials in detention on homicide charges, according to local media.
Despite their release, the judge claims that the soldiers will continue to be connected to the prosecution of those responsible, according to Radio Santa Fe.
The murder of 27-year-old John Jeiber Mina took place at an army checkpoint in the southwest state of Cauca. The 30 soldiers, officials confirmed last week, were suspended for their alleged participation in the killing.
Adding to the controversy of the army’s alleged involvement is the fact that Mina’s body was hidden in a makeshift grave in an apparent attempt to conceal the crime.
The army confirmed the victim had arrived at the army checkpoint on a motorcycle and called his death a “military error.”
According to prosecutors, the victim was traveling with another man when they encountered the army checkpoint. After the soldiers indicated the motorcycle could continue, they opened fire, killing the 27-year old.
The Ombudsman sent a commission to Cauca to accompany the family and monitor internal control procedures being conducted by the Army.
The Prosecutor General’s Office has appealed the release orders issued by the judge, according to Noticias Caracol.