Irish Republican News · May 12, 2004
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
Judge to decide fate of Colombia 3

Supporters of the Colombia 3 have said that the decision on whether the men can leave the country rests solely with the Judge in the case.

Judge Acosta, who recently acquitted the men on charges of training rebels in the country’s civil war, is expected to decide within days whether the men must stay in Colombia pending an appeal.

“The defence team has put in a legal request to Judge Acosta asking that he lift the restrictions on the men leaving the country because of security considerations and the fact that they have been convicted of a minor charge in regard to false documentation.

The men and their supporters have said they face the threat of asassination by right-wing death squads if required to stay in Colombia.

Catherine Ruane, of the ‘Bring Them Home’ campaign, said in Bogota that the defence had provided the Judge with documents to prove the threats to the men’s lives, and the lives of the Ruane sisters in Colombia.

These include documentation on the various threats received by the men, their supporters and international observers over the past three years, the attempted poisoning of the men, and general concerns about their security, including the movement of the prisoners from jail to jail to reduce the risk of attack.

The Irish government and the Colombian governmment had recognised the risk to the attack, but had suggested an “inadequate security plan”, Ruane said.

“The legal team, the Bring Them Home Campaign have kept these men alive through 2 years and 9 months of hell, through lobbying, campaigning and taking legal action when appropriate.

“We will not accept any plan that risks the lives of the men at this stage of the process. The Colombian Government through their prejudical statements have caused the security problem, they must not rectify it”.

Ruane called on the Colombian government to publicly respect the decision of Judge Acosta and to reign in the Attorney General Luis Camilo Osorio, the Colombian military and police.

“It is not good enough that Mr. Osorio tells the world that he is going to keep the men in Colombia pending an appeal. He has not a leg to stand on, he knows it and everyone in Colombia knows it. His time would be better spent studying the judgement by Judge Acosta and seeing how he can improve human rights standards in his office rather than challenging a carefully thought out legal decision.”

“We are now awaiting the decision of the Judge and we hope that he will permit the three men to leave the country safely and quickly and be reunited with their families.”

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© 2004 Irish Republican News