The Foundation for Freedom of the Press considers the decision to end the investigation, after 15 years of impunity, as an enormous step back in the search for justice.
This statement was originally published on flip.org.co on 2 June 2015.
The Attorney General Office decided to conclude the investigation against Alejandro Cardenas Orozco, alias ‘JJ’, a member of the paramilitary Centuar Block in the evening hours of June 1. He had confessed on August 5, 2011 to his participation in the kidnapping of journalist Jineth Bedoya Lima.
Cardenas told the Ministry of Justice and Peace during his September 2011 hearing of his plans to kill Jineth Bedoya on May 25, 2000. He said he was one of two paramilitary members who executed the operation which began at the entrance of La Modelo jail in Bogota and ended that night in the outskirts of Villavicencio. In addition to asking for Bedoya´s forgiveness, alias ‘JJ’ accepted the anticipated sentencing.
The Attorney General presented Cardenas’s link to the case as a big step forward. The Colombian government told the Inter American Human Rights Commission (IACHR) that there would be justice soon because of Cardenas’s confession.
But in August 2013, Alejandro Cardenas retracted his confession, something that is becoming a pattern with paramilitaries who present their versions before the Ministry of Justice and Peace.
Exactly 15 years after the kidnapping, torture and rape of Jineth Bedoya Lima, the Attorney General Office gives more weight to the perpetrator’s story, devaluing the testimony of the victim.
“I see now that this is the response of the Attorney General Office to 15 years of impunity. This ineffectiveness hits hard, but it does not take away my desire to keep fighting for justice,” Bedoya said when she found out about the news yesterday.
The Foundation for Freedom of the Press (FLIP) considers the decision to end the investigation, after 15 years of impunity, as an enormous step back in the search for justice. It sends the message that attacks against the press are permissible and will go unpunished.