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First attacker convicted in journalist Jineth Bedoya case

FLIP

The following is a translation of a statement that was originally published on flip.org.co on 26 February 2016.

Yesterday, 25 February 2016, after more than 15 years of absolute impunity, the judicial proceedings that followed the torture, kidnapping and sexual violence that Jineth Bedoya was subject to in May 2000 have resulted in a sentence for Alejandro Cárdenas Calderón, alias J.J. The Fifth Criminal Judge of the Specialized Circuit of Bogotá handed down a sentence of 11 years, five months, and one day in prison, in addition to a fine equivalent to 90 months of minimum wage salary.

In 2011 Cárdenas admitted his participation in the kidnapping and torture of the journalist, but not the charges of sexual assault. The Attorney General's office is investigating whether he is responsible for the last charge.

In coming to this decision, the judge took into account the accused's confession of responsibility and statements Bedoya has made about Cárdenas being one of her attackers. In addition to this, various testimonies confirmed the participation of Cárdenas in these crimes. As well, the decision considered the gravity of the crimes and the fact they are considered crimes against humanity, which meant that no sentence reductions or other benefits were granted.

The Foundation for Press Freedom (FLIP), as representative for Bedoya over the last five years, hopes that the judicial proceedings will have positive outcomes. As well, FLIP calls attention to the importance of linking the ongoing investigation to other people who were key players in these crimes, including several state officials.

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