TUC statement on detention of FARC peace negotiator Jesús Santrich

The Trades Union Congress (TUC), England and Wales’ major trade union confederation, has released a statement following the ruling by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) peace court that the detained FARC peace negotiator and politician Jesús Santrich should be freed. Jesús Santrich has been imprisoned since his arrest on 9 April 2018 despite a complete lack of evidence. JFC and the British and Irish trade union movements have campaigned for his release.

Read the TUC statement below.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC), representing 5.6 million British workers, calls for the immediate release of imprisoned Colombian peace negotiator Jesus Santrich. The TUC and its union affiliates have campaigned jointly with Justice for Colombia for the freedom of Mr Santrich since his unjust imprisonment in April 2018. At last year’s congress, a motion was unanimously passed highlighting his unjust detention and the risks for the peace process. As a movement which has long supported efforts for peace with social justice in Colombia, we are horrified by the alarming number of social leaders, including many trade unionists, as well as former FARC combatants that have been assassinated since the signing of the Colombian Peace Agreement in November 2016.

We welcome the decision of the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) on Wednesday 15thMay to order Mr Santrich’s freedom, one of the most important negotiators of the peace agreement, who faced baseless charges from the US, which requested his extradition. The JEP ruled that there should be no extradition, because the evidence did not allow them to evaluate any alleged conduct or establish a date for the crime he was accused of, and that the Attorney General’s office should free him immediately. 

We call on the Colombian Government to implement the peace agreement as it was signed between the parties, and to urgently address the assassinations of social leaders and FARC ex combatants. It is estimated over 400 leaders have been murdered since the agreement was signed, as well as over 130 FARC members. We join the rest of the international community in calling for respect for the autonomy of the JEP and for the Colombian Government to implement the agreement in its entirety.