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Family members fear for the safety of the Colombian men being held in Haiti, after President Moïse assassination

Family members share pictures, handwritten letters of Colombian men being held in Haiti following the assassination of the president.
Family members share pictures, handwritten letters of Colombian men being held in Haiti following the assassination of the president.

BOGOTA – Family members of the 18 Colombians being detained in Haiti share photos with Local 10′s Cody Weddle, hoping to convey what they believe is proof that their loved ones would never be capable of carrying out an assassination.

The pictures show men, fathers and dedicated soldiers.

Family members of Colombians being held in Haiti after presidential assassination, share pictures. (Copyright 2021 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.)

Julian Andres Gomez, the brother of Jhon Jairo Gomez, said his brother is a family man, dedicated to his mother and children.

“My brother is a man. I can’t believe he would go there to kill a president,” said Gomez.

Maria Irene Gomez, their mother added, it’s absurd, the thought that they would go to kill a president. Incomprehensible.

Since their family member’s arrest, they’ve received a handwritten letter from their loved ones.

“It’s very possible that they could be killed,” said Gomez.

That letter was obtained by the Colombian Human Rights office, during a recent visit by Luis Andres Fajardo, Deputy Defender of the People.

In addition, detainees sleep on the floor, eat twice a day and have limited access to water, because they offer 20 liters a day that must divide between 18 Colombians and two Haitians, the Office said in a statement.

Fajardo says the men have not had contact with an attorney and remain in complete isolation, in a cell with no windows. many of them, handcuffed for most of the day. His office now worried, after receiving reports that the Colombians will be transferred to a prison with general population inmates. The concern extends to health conditions and the provision of medical services. According to the report, approximately 100 prisoners died in previous years from malnutrition and a tuberculosis epidemic.

FILE - In this July 8, 2021 file photo, suspects in the assassination of Haiti's President Jovenel Moise are shown to the media, along with the weapons and equipment they allegedly used in the attack, at police headquarters in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Haitian authorities have implicated at least 20 retired Colombian soldiers in the president's assassination on July 7. (AP Photo/Jean Marc Herv Ablard, File) (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The UN Integrated Office in Haiti noted in a report published in June this year that most of the prison population in Haiti is confined to “inhumane conditions.”

Fajardo worries it could put them at risk, along the knowledge they have of the operation.

“If they don’t help us, it’s obvious that they will be killed.” said Natalia Andral, a family member of one of the detained men.

The Colombian human rights office is now appealing to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights to pressure Haitian officials to prevent these Colombian suspects from being moved into a general prison population.

Colombian President Iván Duque has said on several occasions that all the captured nationals would have participated in the killing of the Haitian president, however, he says that only a small group knew from the beginning about the crime and the rest would have traveled under deception.


About the Authors:

Veronica Crespo writes for Local10.com and also oversees the Español section of the website. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami, where she studied broadcast journalism and Spanish.