The statute of limitation on investigations into the 1995 murder of journalist and politician Alvaro Gomez Hurtado has been extended indefinitely after Colombia’s Prosecutor’s Office declared the case a crime against humanity.
The court ruled Monday that since the crime was committed against a protected person and was a mafia-related homicide, the case would remain open until a conviction has been made.
"The notification was made today by a human rights prosecutor, who took into account the arguments that were always presented that they were a protected person, and that everything was a systematic attack against people who denounced the links of the mafia. With this policy, we hope that this will advance the investigations," said Enrique Gomez Martinez, the family’s attorney.
Gomez, the son of former President Laureano Gomez (1950-1953), was shot multiple times by a pair of gunmen as he was leaving Arboleda University where he taught as a professor.
The victim had participated in presidential elections on three separate occasions and his death came at a peak time of a political turmoil in the country, when a successful campaign would have meant the beginning of a harsh crackdown on organized crime.
According to a statement delivered to former President Ernesto Samper from a drug trafficker named Luis Hernando Gomez Bustamante, alias Rasguno, in 2007, a close friend had killed the journalist “to help some politicians involved.” He explained that two off-duty police officers had committed the crime per the order of Samper and politician Colombian Senator Horacio Serpa.
Due to numerous contradictions and gaps in Rasguno’s story, his testimony was disregarded by the prosecutor at the time. However, after the recent case review, the Prosecutor’s Office said that “a catalog of evidence” has shown a number of systematic homicides conducted under Samper’s administration. The politician allegedly accepted financial assistance for his 1994 presidential campaign from drug cartels in Cali.
In a book written by the deceased victim’s brother, Enrique Gomez Hurtado, in August of 2011, the crime was denounced as a crime of the state.
The politician, who had also worked as director of the El Nuevo Siglo and as a member of the National Constituent Assembly in 1991, had fallen victim to assault before. Almost 10 years before, in May of 1988, Gomez Hurtado was reportedly kidnapped by guerrilla forces out of Bogota and held in captivity for two months.