Director general of the Colombian Family Welfare Institute (ICBF), Juliana Pungiluppi, has said that specific measures will be put in place at the Specialized Care Center, El Redentor, where acts of abuse against several young people were reported by police, late September.
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Some seven officials have been suspended from duties and are under investigation on charges of abuse of power and torture of minors. In response, Pungiluppi has remarked that measures are being formalized to strengthen the security of the facility, along with the assistance of the police and security secretariat of Bogota.
A video allegedly depicting security officials abusing the wards of the El Redentor center has been making the rounds on social media. Teens were observed lying on the ground, clad only in underwear, with visible signs of abuse seen on their bodies. According to reports, the brutal assault was retaliation for an escape attempt.
"The video is very telling, we clearly see that they are being subjected to physical and verbal abuse, and justice will be the one that enters to determine the facts they incurred in. However, what we are doing is from the metropolitan police is to reject these facts maximum when it comes to people who are in charge of caring for our young people," police official General Ricardo Alarcon said.
Pungilupp expressed regret and rejected the mistreatment of the wards of the state, after a visit to the facility.
The ICBF executive remarked that the long-term goal is to eventually close the rehabilitation center, adding that "the infrastructure is not adequate to guarantee the processes of re-socialization of young people.”
The welfare institute director also reassured that the organization will cooperate with all investigations being undertaken by the prosecutor and attorney general offices.
Deputy prosecutor for crimes against minors, Mario Gomez, declared that the alleged abusers will be investigated for the crime of torture.
"We have already initiated our investigations and if we find that the operator of the Specialized Service Center did not apply the protocols in a proper manner, we will proceed with the application of the respective sanctions," Pungiluppi added.