Colombian Justice Minister Juan Carlos Esguerra withdrew Tuesday former senator Piedad Cordoba‘s permission to visit imprisoned guerrillas.
Esguerra argued that the head of Colombians for Peace (CCP) only had authorization to visit the incarcerated guerrillas on humanitarian grounds, and not as part of the peace process.
“While [the visits] have always been done on humanitarian grounds to verify the condition of persons deprived of freedom, now they are being treated as a ‘down payment’ in the peace process between the guerrillas and the government,” the government official said in a letter to Cordoba.
The minister further stated that he found it “impossible to grant the required permission” as it would affect the course of such a complicated peace process, which should soley be down to the judgement of the president.
Esguerra stated that the guerrillas should not be confused with political prisoners which he said “do not exist in Colombia.”
The government granted Cordoba the right to visit imprisoned FARC rebels last month. The former politician and peace activist had since been helping facilitate the release of ten non-civilian hostages held by the FARC, some of whom have been held for up to 12 years.
At the end of February Codoba claimed that the hostages would be released by the end of March, after the FARC announced its intention to liberate all its political hostages and put an end to kidnappings.