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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Colombia asks to investigate Ecuadorean judge

Colombia Reports, 23 October, 2009

gabriel silva, colombia news, ecuador

Colombia's Ministry of Defense requested Thursday that Ecuador's authorities investigate the judge who seeks to extradite former Defense Minister Juan Manuel Santos and Commander of the Amed Forces, Freddy Padilla de Leon.

Defense Minister Gabriel Silva said that the investigation represents dark motives against the Colombian government, reported newspaper El Espectador.

"We have recommended that the Ecuadorian authorities launch an inquiry into the motives behind this judge's actions," said Silva.

He added that the Colombian government had indicators that suggested that the proceedings were not transparent, and asked that Ecuador find out the true judicial intentions of the proceedings.

A judge in the northern Ecuadorian province of Sucumbios has filed charges against former Colombian Defense Minister Juanl Manuel Santos, current Director of the National Police, Oscar Naranjo, and Commander of the Armed Forces General Freddy Padilla de Leon. None have yet been taken into custody.

They are all being held responsible for the 1 March 2008 bombing of a FARC encampment in Ecuadorian territory, which killed 25 people, including the FARC second-in-command Raul Reyes, four Mexican students and an Ecuadorian civilian. The attack was not sanctioned by Ecuador's authorities.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries were suspended and have just recently started down the path to reconciliation when the extradition requests were issued.

"The more aggression against [Colombia] through the courts, the more staff and officers that are involved, the more people who are unionized, the clearer it is that it has a political purpose with no legal basis. This is a defense issue of state," Silva declared, W Radio reported.

Colombia's President, Alvaro Uribe, said that his government "has the full determination to protect our officials, our ministers, the ex-Minister and the high command."

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