As Colombia remembers those victims of the country’s 30-year-old holocaust, as workers and politicians at Bogotá’s Palace of Justice were held hostage by the M-19 guerrilla group in 1985, two new reports have revealed alarming torture allegations.
In fact, the first police report released on November 6 1986, listed the names and addresses of all the evacuees from the Palace of Justice, a total of 140 people. A second report included magistrates, civil servants and lawyers, prior to a third report which added in the 35 M-19 members who seized the Palace, mixing guerrilla group members with victims.
The list mixed in M-19 guerrilla members Luis Francisco Otero, known as Comandante Lucho and Andrés Almarales, Comandante Pacho who died in the crossfire.
Also included were law students Yolanda Santodomingo and Eduardo Matson, who were later held and tortured by the Colombian state after being subjected to swab tests for weapon use on November 6 1985. After nearly 24 hours of torture, the students were released, their capture termed an “error” by the police force, daily El Espectador reports.
The plot thickens
In a 56 page report, Colombian prosecutors have named 14 ex-military and police, among which were four generals, for their involvement in forced disappearances committed after the M-19 siege.
“They released us the following day in the early hours. They let us go because we were innocent, when they released us I told them my uncle was governor of (the department of) Bolívar; my father was a magistrate in the Bolívar law court and I was a friend of Miguelito Maza, son of General Maza Márquez. They left us in San Victorino (an area of Bogotá). A military car passed by and picked us up and left us there. The following day we went to Cantón Norte to get our papers back and they wouldn’t give them to us. They never gave us them.” Eduardo Matson, held and tortured after the siege comments, he will now testify in court, El Tiempo reports.