[Ppnews] Trial Begins for ‘Sonia’ - Colombian Revolutionary

Political Prisoner News ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Tue Jan 9 11:21:51 EST 2007


http://www.fightbacknews.org/2006/05/sonia.htm

<http://www.fightbacknews.org/2006/05/index.htm>January 2007

Trial Begins for 'Sonia' - Colombian Revolutionary

By Staff

Washington D.C. - Jury selection for Colombian revolutionary "Sonia" 
is scheduled to start here on Jan. 8, in front of Federal Court Judge 
Robertson. Sonia, whose full name is Anayibe Rojas Valderrama, is an 
important member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia 
(FARC). The FARC is a 30,000-member guerrilla army that governs 
nearly 40% of Colombia.

Sonia, a combatant in Colombia's civil war, was captured Nov. 10, 
2004, in the southern mountains of Colombia, near Cartagena de 
Chaira. Since becoming a prisoner of war, Sonia has been shuffled 
around from Colombian military bases, to a Colombian navy ship, to 
the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, to prison in the U.S. Sonia is no average 
prisoner and her case is not a normal criminal trial.

Sonia is being charge with drug crimes under U.S. laws, though she 
allegedly committed these crimes in Colombia. In a previous prison 
telephone interview with La Voz newspaper Sonia said, "I am not a 
narco-trafficker, I am a woman guerrilla fighter of the FARC." She 
goes on to say "They want to extradite me for a crime which I did not 
commit. I am not a narco-trafficker. The big narco-traffickers are 
taking a walk in the streets, seated in the Congress of the Republic, 
and the highest positions of power. My only crime is that I rebelled 
against the violent, undemocratic and cruel state [of Colombia]."

"Sonia", 39 years of age, is the daughter of hard working peasants 
and of her own free will joined the FARC at the end of the 1980's. 
She says at the U.S. embassy they interrogated her, but she refused 
to answer. The U.S. embassy also offered to bring Sonia and her 
family to the U.S. and provide for them if she would inform on her 
friends and comrades in the FARC. She says the U.S. officials 
threatened "otherwise you will be extradited, locked up in darkroom 
and will have to spend many years without seeing your family." So 
now, much like fellow FARC leader Ricardo Palmera, she is imprisoned 
in the U.S. and her trial begins on Monday, Jan. 8.

Ricardo Palmera won a big victory in his first trial in the U.S. when 
the jury could not agree on a verdict. Bush's White House had sought 
to find Palmera and the FARC guilty of kidnapping U.S. mercenaries in 
Colombia. Judge Hogan was forced to declare a mistrial for Palmera 
and then Sonia's case was transferred from Hogan's courtroom to 
Robertson's. Judge Hogan and the U.S. prosecutors are going to take a 
second crack at FARC peace negotiator Ricardo Palmera on March 26.

Tom Burke, spokesperson for the National Committee to Free Ricardo 
Palmera said, "Just like the extradition and trial of Ricardo 
Palmera, Sonia's trial is completely out of bounds. The U.S. has no 
right to put Colombian revolutionaries on trial in the U.S. It is 
another form of intervention in the undeclared U.S. war in Colombia. 
The Bush White House is losing their war in Colombia. Plan Colombia 
is a total failure. Sonia's trial reflects the desperation of U.S. 
foreign policy."


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