Colombia ‘responsible for kidnap, attack and rape of journalist’

Inter-American Court of Human Rights points ruling holding Colombia’s govt liable for kidnap, torture and rape of journalist Jineth Bedoya in 2000.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights has issued a ruling holding Colombia’s authorities liable for the kidnap, torture and rape of a journalist by paramilitary teams in 2000.

Jineth Bedoya, a reporter on the time for the El Espectador newspaper, was investigating a weapons smuggling ring when she was kidnapped and assaulted by far-right militia members.

The paramilitaries, a few of whom have since been convicted, had been among the many forces that fought left-wing militias in Colombia till their official demobilisation in 2006.

The ruling on Monday stated the assaults towards Bedoya “could not have been carried out without the consent and collaboration of the [Colombian] State, or at least with its tolerance”.

The courtroom, an autonomous physique of the Organization of American States, added that the state’s additional failure to research threats towards Bedoya within the wake of the assault violated her “rights to judicial guarantees, judicial protection and equality before the law”.

While three paramilitary leaders had been later convicted for his or her roles within the abduction and assault, the courtroom additionally ordered Colombia to “punish those remaining responsible for the acts of violence” and known as for different measures, together with the creation of a coaching programme for public officers and safety forces centered on violence towards ladies.

Bedoya, now 47, hailed the choice, saying she had confronted twenty years of “persecution, intimidation and constant threats” whereas searching for justice for the assault, during which she was tortured and raped for 16 hours earlier than being left bare on the facet of the highway.

“October 18, 2021 goes down in history as the day when a struggle that began with an individual crime has led to the vindication of the rights of thousands of women who have been victims of sexual violence and of women journalists who leave a part of their lives in their work,” tweeted Bedoya, who was awarded the UNESCO World Press Freedom Prize final 12 months.

President Ivan Duque tweeted that Colombia “fully accepts the decision”.

“I will always condemn any violent act against women and journalists,” he stated. “The sentence should serve as a guide to actions that can be implemented to prevent anything like this from happening again.”

The Colombian state apologised to Bedoya earlier than the identical courtroom in March this 12 months when it additionally ordered the federal government to instantly guarantee the protection of the journalist and her mom, who had each been victims of threats – together with an assault in 1999 on each that the state failed to research.

Monday’s ruling, nevertheless, made no reference to one among Bedoya’s most important requests – that the jail from which she was kidnapped, Bogota’s infamous La Modelo, be shuttered.