Witnesses, investigators and prosecutors in the case against an army colonel investigated for paramilitary ties have been threatened and
intimidated in an attempt to obstruct justice, charged the Human Rights
unit of the Colombian Attorney general.
Various witnesses have reported serious threats that oblige them to retract their statements against the charged officers, primarily Colonel Hernán Mejía, ex commander of the Popa Battalion in Valledupar, who was allegedly in league with paramilitary ‘Jorge 40’.
The efforts could bring “a verdict of acquittal, not because the plaintiff will be proven innocent, but for the lack of evidence generated by fear of witnesses to assert their claims and of investigators to delve into the search for truth,” said a six-page letter from the unit’s director, according to W Radio.
Details as to the nature of the threats were not available in news reports.
For example, on September 21 Guillermo Augusto de Hoyos called the Attorney General’s investigative unit with an urgent message that the colonel and his lawyer had pressured him to report that investigators had paid him to testify against the colonel, reported unit director Sandra Jeannette Castro in the letter.
Moreover, the letter accused the official and his lawyer conducted unsupervised ballistics tests which could constitute an alteration of evidence and material proof.