Colombian former officer convicted for disappearance of 11 civils 1985

13:56, June 10, 2010      

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A Colombian judge on Wednesday sentenced to 30 years in prison retired Army Colonel, Luis Plazas, for his role in the disappearance of 11 people during the retaking of the Palace of Justice, in an incident that took place 24 years ago, according to judicial sources.

The judge also ordered to investigate former President Belisario Betancur, president at that time when this occurred, the 7th of November in 1985, when the M-19 guerrilla group took the seat of the Palace of Justice.

According to the judge, the retired officer did not commit the crimes but had dominance over the military command for the retaking of the Palace of Justice, located in the central Plaza in Bogota.

The former officer was convicted of the aggravated crime of enforced disappearance. Plazas is the first former military officer convicted for the disappearance of eleven civilians in the retaking of the Palace of Justice. The process was reopened in 2005

For his part, President Alvaro Uribe expressed his regret on the sentence against the former military.

"This incident occurred in 1985, a criminal alliance between drug traffickers and guerrillas killed a Supreme Court Justice. From the criminal actors, none are in jail and now I see that condemning a (former) member of the Armed Forces who simply made their duty," he said.

Plazas is in a hospital due to his fragile health. The judge requested that the former soldier should be jailed in a maximum security prison.



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