FARC Leader Convicted of Archbishop’s Murder in Colombia
By Dialogo January 17, 2012
A Colombian judge sentenced four leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrilla group in absentia to 25 years in prison, including the group’s top-ranking leader, Timoleón Jiménez (Timochenko), for the murder of the archbishop of Cali, Isaías Duarte, almost a decade ago, that country’s Public Prosecutor’s Office announced.
The four leaders of the FARC, Latin America’s oldest guerrilla group, were found guilty of the crime of aggravated homicide, for which they were sentenced to 25 years in prison and to pay around 543,000 dollars to the prelate’s family.
In addition to Timochenko, those convicted are Luciano Marín Arango (Iván Márquez), Jorge Torres Victoria (Pablo Catatumbo), and Noel Mata Mata (Efraín Guzmán), who died in 2003 according to the FARC, but whose deaths the Colombian legal system has not been able to confirm.
In his verdict, the judge reiterated the arrest warrants pending against those sentenced.
Archbishop Duarte, who maintained a critical attitude toward the FARC, was murdered on March 16, 2002, in the Buen Pastor parish church in Cali, where armed men burst in as the prelate was finishing a group marriage ceremony for 105 couples.
Timochenko, 52 years old, took supreme command of the FARC following the death of his predecessor, Alfonso Cano, in a military operation in November.