Colombia Found Responsible for 2000 Kidnap, Torture of Journalist Jineth Bedoya

A regional human rights court found the state of Colombia responsible for the kidnap, torture, and rape of prominent journalist Jineth Bedoya 21 years ago.

The Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled on Oct. 18 that Colombia was “internationally responsible for the violation of the rights to personal integrity, personal freedom, honor, dignity, and freedom of expression.”

The court further ruled that the attack against Bedoya “could not have been carried out without the consent and collaboration of the State, or at least with its tolerance,” citing “serious evidence.”

On May 25, 2000, Bedoya was set to interview  a member of a paramilitary group when she was abducted outside a Bogota prison, drugged, and driven to another city where she was beaten and raped for hours before being abandoned on a roadside.

Bedoya, a reporter for daily El Espectador at the time, was investigating a weapons smuggling network operating out of the prison.

The court ordered the investigations into the attacks against Bedoya to continue and to punish those remaining responsible.

Colombian courts previously sentenced only three of her attackers in 2019.

The regional court also ordered the creation of funds to finance programs aimed to protect female journalists, as well as training for public officials and security forces on violence against women.

Bedoya applauded the ruling on Twitter, saying that the day “goes down in history as the day when a fight, which began over an individual crime, led to the vindication of the rights of thousands of women who are victims of sexual violence, and of women journalists who leave a part of themselves in their work.”

Colombian President Ivan Duque said that the country “fully complies” with the ruling, adding that the sentence should be used “to prevent something similar from happening again.”

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