President Alvaro Uribe convened an emergency meeting on Thursday with Colombia’s high military command to discuss the fallout of the 30 year prison sentence handed down to retired Colonel Alfonso Plazas Vega on Wednesday.
According to reports, the defense minister and military commanders were required to cancel their entire Thursday schedules, after receiving a call from Uribe, who requested they meet to discuss ways to protect the military from judicial decisions that interfere with their work, El Espectador reports.
Earlier on Thursday, the Ministry of Defense issued a five-point statement in support of Colonel Plazas Vega, who was convicted for his roll in the forced disappearance of eleven civilians in the 1985 army siege of the Palace of Justice, which had been taken over by M-19 guerrillas.
According to the statement, the Ministry “expresses its deep sorrow for the consequences of the court ruling that sentenced a soldier of the homeland. This painful and sad feeling is shared at all levels amongst ground, air, and sea soldiers, and their families. [The Ministry] manifests in these difficult times its solidarity with the Colonel Alfonso Plazas Vega and his respected family. The soldiers of the homeland hope that Plazas Vega’s defense may expose the correct and necessary evidence to continue forward. [The Ministry] urges the soldiers on land, sea and air, and the police of our nation, who are always committed to the defense of democracy, peace and freedom, to maintain morale and an indomitable fighting spirit.”