Indigenous Colombian communities condemn arrest of leader Feliciano Valencia as blow to autonomy
- In a blow to Indigenous criminal justice autonomy, Valencia was arrested for the alleged 2008 kidnapping of a Colombian soldier, which community members say involved the soldier’s detention and sentencing to 20 lashes for espionage in Indigenous territory.
- Delegates from multiple of Colombia’s 84 registered Indigenous communities arrived at the Indigenous Intercultural University of Popayan to organize the Symbolic March for the Freedom of Feliciano Valencia.
- Valencia had faced the same charges in 2010 but released after the defense argued that Indigenous communities’ right to administer justice in their own territories, guaranteed in the Colombian Constitution, was administered collectively and not just by Valencia.
“They want to delegitimize (a right) that is inscribed in the Constitution and that should prevail over ordinary legal norms.”
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(Image Credit: via teleSUR)