A judge from Popayan, in the department of Cauca, decided this Wednesday to deny the release of two of the seven young people designated as spokesmen for peace by President Gustavo Petro. Bremen Hinestroza and Andres Duque, social leaders of the region, will continue to be detained in the maximum security prison of San Isidro, in Popayan, because, according to the judge, they do not meet the necessary requirements to be considered spokespersons, despite the fact that the Government requested their immediate release in a decree issued on December 16. W RADIO revealed that the young people’s lawyers will appeal the decision and seek to continue the process in home detention. It is expected that a new hearing date will be defined soon to define the judicial future of the two involved.
One of the main reasons of the guarantee control judge for denying the freedom of the defendants is that they were not arrested during the protests against the Government of Ivan Duque in 2021, in the so-called social outbreak, but that the authorities captured them later, in June 2022 for participating in alleged land invasions in the north of the department of Cauca. In fact, the Attorney General’s Office accuses them of the crimes of encroachment on real estate, violence against a public servant and the use or release of dangerous substances or objects.
Andres Duque is a history student and social leader on housing issues. He has advised the inhabitants of the Sinai neighborhood of Popayan from the coordination of the movement Los Sin Techo. In addition, he is part of the Francisco Isaias Cifuentes Network, made up of social, student and peasant organizations that defend human rights in the departments of Cauca and Valle del Cauca. Bremmen Hinestroza is the father of an 8-year-old girl, is a social leader and gives drama workshops. He is also part of the Los Sin Techo movement and the Francisco Isaias Cifuentes Human Rights Network.
Despite their social trajectory and the fact that the Government selected them from among more than 200 young people detained to be released before Christmas Eve, the judge accepted the arguments of the lawyer for the victims of the alleged invasions of private properties who sought to demonstrate that Duque and Hinestroza did not they should be part of the spokesmen for peace. The Prosecutor’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office agree with the denial of freedom. William Ruiz, Andres Duque’s uncle, told CARACOL RADIO that since October they have requested to replace the detention in the prison with a domiciliary house for jail. In other words, they did it before the total peace law was enacted, which is what allows the release of peace spokesmen: “We consider that the measure at home and not within the walls is sufficient for constitutional purposes.”
The judicial decision, which contradicts the explicit request of President Petro, revives the controversy of to what extent the Government can intervene in the decisions of justice to fulfill its promise to release the young people detained during the protests, one of the campaign banners of today’s president. In the selection of the first seven spokespersons for peace, which includes Duque and Hinestroza, the Government took into account that none was accused of crimes against humanity, homicide, sexual crimes, crimes against minors or torture. “They are crimes affecting the public or private good, obstruction of public roads, transportation or disrespect for authority. What we took into account the most were not so much the crimes, but the usefulness they can provide for the reconciliation of the neighborhood, ”said the Minister of Justice, Nestor Ozuna, at the time.
Added to the denial of the freedom of these two young people is the letter from the Attorney General’s Office on Tuesday, December 27, in which it criticizes the release of Santiago Marquez Charris and Adriana Esperanza Bermeo, two other young people designated as spokespersons for peace and who They were released on Friday the 23rd.
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Through the document addressed to Jorge Luis Trujillo, president of the Superior Council of the Judiciary, the public ministry complains about an alleged mistake committed by the coordinator of the Center for Judicial Services of Bogota who signed the release of Marquez and Bermeo. “The control body filed a complaint with the Superior Council of the Judiciary, for the non-convening of the criminal judicial prosecutors to the proceedings where the freedom of two young people from the First Line who will be spokesmen for peace was decreed,” said the Attorney General’s Office. through a statement.
Prosecutor Margarita Cabello, who was Minister of Justice of the Duque Government, supports this complaint in a video in which she assures that the coordinator of the Paloquemao Judicial Services Center could not order the release granted to peace spokesmen last week for several reasons, including that although she is a judge, she can only dispense justice when no other judge in the center has the possibility to do so.
“We consider that it does not have the competence to do so, and that is why we are making the first inquiries,” Cabello said, adding that the delegates of his entity were not taken into account in the criminal proceedings in which the two persons indicated were released. to be part of the front line and, now, they are spokesmen for peace.
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