Soldiers receive 40 years in prison each for false positive murders

A criminal court in central Colombia has sentenced six soldiers to 40 years in prison each for their part in false positive murders of civilians.

Six soldiers were charged with murder on Wednesday for killing two civilians and later portraying them as FARC combatants, Caracol Radio reported.

The crime dates back to 10th February 2005, when civilians Didier Lasso Delgado and Yimy Alexander Ortiz Tavera were murdered in the rural municipality of Lebrija, in the central state of Santander.

Cesar Hernandez, Fernando Cortez, Nelson Villamil, Joneth Gelvez, Humberto Monsalve, and Sargent Felio Fernando Adrada were found guilty of the murder on Wednesday.

The false positive scandal shook Colombia after it was discovered that the Colombia military were murdering civilians and then registering the kills as enemy combatants from guerrilla groups such as FARC in order to boost their success rate.

In a July 2013 report, the Prosecutor General’s Office said it had found that the armed forces and civilian collaborators had killed 3,896 civilians since 1986, while Justice for Colombia reports that over 3000 extrajudicial false positive killings took place between 2002 and 2009.

FACTSHEET: False positives

Military scandals, investigations

The Colombian military has recently been implicated in the murder of civilians, embezzlement, and arms sales to guerrilla rebels. In February of this year, Army General Javier Rey Navas tendered his resignation after being implicated in an emerging corruption scandal.

MORE: Colombia Army general resigns amid embezzlement scandal

Also in February, armed forces Commander General Leonardo Barrero was replaced amid an accumulation of corruption, wiretapping and human rights scandals.

MORE: Colombia military commander replaced amid embezzlement scandal

Colombia’s Supreme Court handed down a 37-year prison sentence in June to former General Jaime Humberto Uscategui for his responsibility in the 1997 Mapiripan paramilitary massacre that claimed the lives of at least 49 villagers.

A lawyer for the Mapiripan victims called on Colombia’s Supreme Court to investigate the involvement of Colonel Gonzalez del Rio, who is currently serving a 25-year sentence for the murder and dismemberment of a village leader during a joint military-paramilitary operation in Choco in 1997, has also been implicated in the 1997 massacre. A lawyer for the victims

MORE: Victims want former Colombian general investigated over 1997 paramilitary massacre


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