Three ex-soldiers have lost an appeal in northern Colombia and face 40 years prison over the deaths of three youths whom they allegedly lured from their home town with offers of work, local media reported Thursday morning.According to the court’s findings three young men were killed by troops assigned to counterinsurgency battalion “La Popa” in Valledupar, Cesar State on April 27, 2005.
The three dead young men were then reported as false members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC and were counted among the dead killed in fighting that allegedly occurred in the village of San José de Oriente, in the municpality of La Paz, also in Cesar State. This practice is known as reporting “false positives.”
The three ex-soldiers received the sentence was handed down on February 12, 2014 and was appealed by the defense of the soldiers to the High Court of Valledupar. The court agreed with the earlier ruling, handing down 40 years each and also ordered the convicted to pay the sum of 4000 minimum monthly wages and are ineligible for public rights and duties for a term of 24 years.
There also are allegedly 24 active soldiers connected to the case.
The three victims, identified as Jesus Hernández Pacheco, 17; Robert Henry Bolivar, 22, Cristian Santiago Redondo, 19, were last seen on the same day that they told their families they had been offered work as coffee pickers in Cesar.
According to the prosecution, they were found dead the next day.
|“Our kids were deceived them with promises of work, but the next day they were taken away and killed posed as guerrillas, what they did was a false positive.” -Mothers of victims|
Families sought justice
The families of the three murdered boys told Colombia’s El Heraldo they expected authorities to do justice and to condemn those responsible.
The mothers of the slain youths said their children told them they had just gotten a job elsewhere, but could not tell what it was, only that they did not need to carry documents.
“Our kids were deceived them with promises of work, but the next day they were taken away and killed posed as guerrillas, they did it was a false positive,” the mothers said.
Santiago Alfonso Palma, father of Cristian Camilo Santiago, said his son had stopped by the family home with a man on a motorbike on the morning of April 26.
“He said goodbye and the last thing he said was not to worry because he was going to work,” the father said.
False positives, a terrible legacy
Governmental and non-governmental agencies alike suspect that thousands of civilians were killed by members of the armed forces who dressed then their victims as guerrillas in order to present them as combat kills.
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