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Gavan meets with lawyers of Jesús Santrich

30 May, 2019 - by Paul Gavan

Sinn Féin Senator Paul Gavan has welcomed the ruling of the Colombian Supreme Court which yesterday ordered the immediate release of Jesús Santrich and called on the Colombian Government to urgently abide by this ruling.

Senator Gavan is taking part in a week long Peace Monitor Mission for Justice For Colombia, involving a series of meetings with all actors in the peace process including the FARC, Government representatives, the United Nations Human Rights Committee, and a wide range of human rights defenders.

Speaking after he met with Jesús Santrich’s lawyers, Senator Gavan said:

“Jesús Santrich was a key negotiator of the Colombian peace agreement, a member of the FARC delegation to the negotiations, and an architect of the agreement. At the time of his arrest in 2018, he was due to take his seat in the House of Representatives as part of the FARC’s ten representatives in the Colombian Congress according to the Peace Agreement. He has been kept in prison for over a year without evidence being presented, without having been convicted of any crime, and under threat of extradition to the USA.

“On 15 May, the peace tribunal created by the Colombian Peace Agreement, known as the JEP, ordered the Attorney General’s office to release Jesús Santrich from jail immediately. However, when he was being released from jail on 17 May, he was immediately rearrested and in bad health.

“There are concerns that this is an attempt to diminish the authority of the JEP, which would have a significant impact on the process of truth and justice which the peace agreement established.

“This situation has caused huge concern amongst the defenders of the peace process, which adds to the considerable concerns about the lack of implementation of the agreement, and the alarming number of murders of social leaders and former FARC combatants.

“There must be full respect for due process and transparency in the new case that has been opened by the Attorney General's office including an end to accusatory statements from the President, Government representatives, and other state officials.

“The Supreme Court has now ruled that Jesús Santrich should be immediately released. The Colombian Government must respect this ruling and fully respect the decision of the JEP, including the guarantee of non-extradition.

“The Colombian government must also allow full international monitoring of this case as it is a fundamental challenge to the Peace Agreement signed in November 2016 and supported by the United Nations.” 

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