Colombia.- The National Court agrees to extradite to Colombia an accused of hiring a hitman to murder his partner
The extradition is suspended until the asylum request is resolved, alleges persecution for being a member of the conservative party
MADRID, Apr 7. 2021 (Europa Press) –
The First Section of the Criminal Chamber of the National Court agrees to the extradition of a citizen of Colombian nationality claimed for allegedly ordering the murder of his partner, but suspends the execution of the delivery pending to know if the Subdirectorate General of International Protection grants him asylum for being a member of the conservative party.
In an order dated March 25, the Chamber processes Colombia’s request to extradite this 40-year-old man, who has been in provisional prison in Spain for this cause since September 2020, when he was detained for the Police because an international arrest warrant was weighing on him.
According to the account of the events provided by the Colombian authorities, in February 2019 the victim, Luz Helena Benalcazar, was traveling on a public service bus when she was killed with a firearm by a subject who later declared to the Police that he had been hired to assassinate her.
The perpetrator confessed that the person who is now being extradited paid the amount of 500,000 pesos and gave him a pistol to carry out the murder. The motive for the attack “was jealousy because she had another partner,” says the letter from the Colombian authorities, so it would be a sexist crime.
THE EXTRADITION PROCESS In the extraditional hearing, which was held in the presence of the defendant and his lawyer, in addition to the Public Prosecutor’s Office, they opposed his surrender, while the prosecutors advocated turning him over to the Colombian authorities, given that it is true in this case the requirement of double criminality – a crime prosecuted in both countries – the minimum punitive requirement (one year) and that the facts are not prescribed.
The defense relied on avoiding extradition on the presumption of innocence of his defendant and in that the surrender is not appropriate given that refuge and asylum had already been requested when he arrived in Spain due to the threats he suffered in Colombia. They also pointed out that the perpetrator confessed against him in exchange for a significant reduction of the sentence.
On the grounds of law, the Chamber indicates that the acts for which it is claimed constitute in Colombia a crime of aggravated feminicide in heterogeneous competition with the crime of manufacturing, trafficking, carrying or possession of firearms, and they emphasize that it is punished with custodial sentences ranging from 500 to 600 months (more than 40 years).
“REMOVED FROM POLITICAL CONNOTATION”
And it details that the requirements of the Extradition Agreement with Colombia are met: He lacks Spanish nationality, he has not been tried for this matter, it is a common crime “far from political connotation” and no spurious motivation is found in the claim.
In line, they recall that the fact that the detainee was a candidate for mayor of the city of Florida Palmira and that he was an active militant in combating drug trafficking is not related to the acts charged against him, and that they consisted of paying a hit man to kill the woman with whom he had had an emotional relationship in the context of a dispute over the custody of a minor.
Despite debunking all the defense allegations, the Chamber indicates that since he requested asylum in July 2019 and since the file is in the investigation phase, the suspension of surrender can only be determined until the resolution of that asylum petition.