[Pnews] Jesús Santrich is Free! Major WIN for Peace in Colombia
ppnews at freedomarchives.org
Thu May 30 18:22:25 EDT 2019
Jesús Santrich is Free! Major WIN for Peace in Colombia
May 30, 2019
The Alliance for Global Justice is pleased to announce that Jesús
Santrich has been freed from his jail cell in Colombia. This is a major
victory for supporters of the peace process. The arrest of Santrich was
an attack on the authority of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace court
(JEP). The threat of his extradition to the United States was a tactic
to circumvent agreements signed into law in 2016. That accord ended more
than 52 years of war between the Colombian government and the
Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People’s Army (FARC-EP).Since its
implementation, opponents have tried to end the accord by attempting to
nullify key provisions, including the establishment of the JEP, and
clauses having to do with extraditions of ex-combatants.
Santrich is a representative in the Colombian congress for the new legal
political party, Revolutionary Alternative Common Force (FARC). Santrich
was first arrested on April 9 2018 at the request of the United States
Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The charges of narco-trafficking were
based on testimonies by paid agents and informants, and on evidence that
was not verifiable and never showed any involvement in
narco-trafficking. The case against Santrich bore all the signs of the
kind of set-up that has been so frequently used to put hundreds of
Colombian activists in jail. The US had requested Santrich’ extradition,
charging he was planning for the sale and distribution of cocaine in the
US. However, the JEP rejected the petition when the DEA was unable and
unwilling to show its evidence against Santrich.
The case has exposed in no uncertain terms the subservient relationship
of Colombian President Iván Duque to US President Donald Trump, and to
his mentor, former president and father of Colombia’s death squads,
Álvaro Uribe. Santrich was originally ordered to be released on May
19th, however, as soon as he was wheeled through the prison gates, never
out of custody of police or prison personnel, he was re-arrested
based on supposedly new evidence from the DEA, particularly a new video.
But at no point on that video was any mention ever made regarding a
shipment of cocaine, and the date of the video could not be confirmed.
The JEP had demanded Santrich’ release, and their authority to do so had
been confirmed twice in Congress and also through the courts. This
happened despite direct US intervention including the appearance of
then-ambassador Michael McKinley to lobby the Colombian congress to pass
legislation to disband the JEP. Even before the release order was acted
on, Uribe was speaking to press suggesting that Santrich would still be
extradited. He said this could happen as the result of a presidential
declaration of emergency. By rearresting Santrich, the Duque
administration defied the agreements, courts, and congress of its own
country to carry out the demands of the US government.
But yesterday, the Colombian Supreme Court ruled that Santrich must be
released, and has assumed investigation of the case against him, noting
that members of Colombia’s congress can only be investigated by the
Supreme Court. While this does not refer the case back to the JEP, it
also does not undermine their authority or negate their previous
rulings. Barring some extraordinary measure that would be a complete
break with any legal precendent or notion of Colombian sovereignty, the
possibility of Santrich’ extradition to the US is off the table.
Nevertheless, AfGJ will continue to monitor the case because the
willingness of the Duque administration to act in such a manner has
already been illustrated.
*The Alliance for Global Justice wishes to thank all our supporters who
have sent so many emails, signed open letters, made phone calls, and
held demonstrations for the freedom of Jesús Santrich and for peace in
Colombia. This is a victory you helped achieve. Well done!*
Here’s to peace in Colombia backed by international solidarity!
Freedom Archives 522 Valencia Street San Francisco, CA 94110 415
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