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Protest demands freedom for Colombian revolutionary

Second trial begins for Ricardo Palmera

by staff |
June 11, 2007
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Protesters with fists and signs
Above:
Speakers at June 4 press conference demand freedom for Ricardo Palmera (Fight Back! News)
Mick Kelly at Palmera demo
Palmera protest, Colombian flag in background
Right:
Speakers at June 4 press conference demand freedom for Ricardo Palmera (Fight Back! News)
Left:
Speakers at June 4 press conference demand freedom for Ricardo Palmera (Fight Back! News)

Washington D.C. - The chant “Free Ricardo Palmera! Hands off Colombia!” rang out in front of the Federal Courthouse here, June 4, as members of the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera held a picket line to demand his release. The picket line coincided with the onset of Palmera’s second trial. Members of Students for a Democratic Society from Asheville, North Carolina and the Colombian Action Network participated in the protest.

Palmera’s first trial ended with a hung jury. Presiding judge Thomas Hogan then had to remove himself from the case, when the defense brought to light Hogan’s secret maneuvering to give the prosecution an unfair advantage. Reagan appointee Judge Royce C. Lambert is presiding over the current trial. .

“Ricardo Palmera is a hero who has devoted his entire life to working and fighting for the liberation of the Colombian people,” said Mick Kelly, of the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera, speaking outside the courthouse. “He has done nothing wrong. The only fair trial is no trial and what is going to take place in that courtroom is the real crime. There are reports that Ricardo Palmera will be allowed few or no witnesses on his behalf. And we know that a number of the witnesses for the prosecution are liars who can not keep their stories straight.”

After the picket line and press conference, supporters of Palmera entered the courtroom where the final stages of jury selection were under way. Palmera flashed a big smile as his backers discreetly raised their fists and gave him the thumbs up sign.

Palmera, who is also known as Simon Trinidad, is a leading member of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and represented the rebel group in peace negotiations with Colombian government. Palmera was kidnapped in Quito, Ecuador by the FBI, brought to Colombia and sent to United States. Currently he is in solitary confinement in Washington D.C. Incredibly enough, he is charged with ‘hostage taking,’ in relation to an incident in Colombia where the FARC shot down a plane that had some U.S. mercenaries on board.

The National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera is organizing a:

Picket line and press conference for Ricardo Palmera’s freedom
June 18, 2007; 8:30 a.m. picket line, 9:00 a.m. press conference
Federal Court Building (333 Constitution Ave. NW)
Washington, D.C

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