At least six families of victims who disappeared from Soacha only to later be falsely identified as guerrillas killed in combat have since become targets for intimidation and threats.
Some of the threats have been distributed as flyers that read “We do not play, this is a warning: do not forget,” or received as text messages, reported Caracol TV.
The Soacha ‘false positives’ received world wide press coverage and forced the Colombian government to purge the military of soldiers and commanders who had been involved in the extrajudicial killings of civilians. The soldiers that are the alleged perpetrators of the forced disappearance and murder of young men from Soacha are currently on trial.
Blanca Monroy, mother of one of the youths falsely presented as a guerrilla fighter, said that she fears for the lives of her other two children. “Six weeks ago someone on a motorcycle wearing military clothing asked my 17 year old son for his papers. I know that the military only ask for papers during a raid, so this has me very worried,” she said.
Monroy added that other mothers had received threats, such as one who had “a military belt nailed to her door,” while another was stopped by two people on a motorcycle who “pushed her up against the wall and put a gun to her head, and told her to stop talking about it or else she would end up like her son in Ocaña” (where he was found dead).
Fernando Escobar, representative of Soacha, the town in which the bodies of a number of the false positives were found, expressed concern at the reports, which he said “have been brought to the attention of the Inspector General, the Ombudsman, local authorities, and the Human Rights Committee to Congress.”
So far, Escobar has been told to implement the Padrino Plan on behalf of some of the victimized families, although “this measure [is small comfort] compared to the risk that the families are facing,” he said.
Escobar also expressed alarm regarding “the issue of judicial terms and the expiration of those terms, that those currently being investigated for perpetrating the ‘false positives’ could be set free.”
On the trials being conducted against the military involved in these crimes, the Supreme Judicial Council ordered that all proceedings in which civilians were killed and presented as killed in action, will be borne by the ordinary courts rather than military courts.
Furthermore, the court said that it will investigate the defense lawyers’ argument of a collision of powers, in order to delay the trials against the military personnel and seek an expiration of terms.
Those being investigated face military charges of aggravated homicide, forced disappearance, conspiracy, and misrepresentation.