Defence Minister Rodrigo Rivera has refused the offer of the Ministry of the Interior and Justice to transfer prisoners from the controversial Tolemaida military detention center to a civilian prison, El Espectador reported Wednesday.
In recent days rumours have grown suggesting that Rivera and other armed forces commanders fear that the security of the military detainees will not be guaranteed if they are transferred to the civilian prison in Guaduas, in the department of Cundinamarca.
Speaking to reporters, Rivera confirmed the rumours, stating that the military are primarily concerned about the FARC who are aware of the layout of the Guaduas prison and would therefore be able to mount an attack against the incarcerated former military personnel.
In a recent investigation by Semana magazine it was revealed that military detainees within Tolemaida enjoyed excessive privileges. Government officials have expressed anger over the lenient treatment towards detained former army officers, which has prompted the Interior and Justice Minister, German Vargas Lleras, to request the transfer of the prisoners to another site.
The military’s refusal to comply with the request appears to be a continuation of the stand-off with the government over handling of the detention site after it was revealed that an investigation by the prison authority INPEC of Tolemaida was not granted last month.
As a result of the scandal, a draft bill is being put before Congress proposing a reformation of the prison system which would allow INPEC to take greater control of military jails in exceptional circumstance.