2 Aug 2009

Colombian soldiers jailed for murdering civilians

2:51 pm on 2 August 2009

A judge in Colombia has sentenced 10 soldiers to 30 years in prison for murdering civilians and passing them off as rebels killed in combat.

The soldiers were convicted for killing two restaurant workers in 2006, and presenting their bodies as rebel casualties.

The soldiers were among those accused of "false positives", in which killings were faked to claim success against rebels or drug cartels.

The Colombian attorney general's office is investigating more than a thousand such murders.

Among those sentenced on Saturday were an officer, three subordinates and six ordinary soldiers who were found to have taken part in the killing of the two restaurant workers and were sentenced to 30 years.

Five others were sentenced to four years in jail for covering up details about the case.

The men disappeared on their way home from work in May 2006.

Their bodies were later presented as rebels killed in combat.