Washington, D.C. - In stunning defeat for the Bush administration, the attempt to frame Colombian rebel Ricardo Palmera on drug trafficking charges ended with a hung jury in Federal Court here, April 21. With the jurors unable to agree, Judge Royce Lambert declared a mistrial.
Ricardo Palmera was a top peace negotiator for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) until he was kidnapped in Ecuador and brought to Washington D.C. The FARC is fighting to topple the U.S.-backed Colombian government. Palmera is being held in solitary confinement.
This is the second trial to end with a mistrial on these particular charges. Professor Palmera has also faced two other trials - one of which ended in a mistrial and the other with a single conviction out of four charges. In this trial the prosecution’s strategy was to portray Ricardo Palmera and the FARC as part of some kind of drug dealing gang. Since this is untrue, the prosecution was forced to rely on paid witnesses who lied on the stand and whose identities were kept secret.
Tom Burke, of the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera states, “The prosecution and the U.S. government want to portray Ricardo Palmera as a criminal and criminalize the struggle of the Colombian people who are fighting for a just society free of foreign domination. They failed.”The National Committee to Free Ricardo Palm