Bogotá’s Claudia López calls for citizens to reject Petro’s prisoner pardons

Mayor Claudia López calls for citizens to reject early release of prisoner. Photo: Alcaldía de Bogotá
Mayor Claudia López calls for citizens to reject early release of prisoner. Photo: Alcaldía de Bogotá

Mayor Claudia López has summoned all residents of Bogotá to sign an official petition directed at President Gustavo Petro, Minister of Justice Nestor Iván Osuna, and Congress, to stop the early release of 6,895 prisoners being held in district jails.

In a press conference Tuesday, Mayor López was visibility angered at the national government’s plans to overhaul the justice system with a reform that would release inmates to alleviate over-crowded prisons. Claudia López warned Bogotanos that she will “reject any intention, or Law, that gives freedom to prisoners who have yet to complete their sentences and impunity to criminals who torment and intimidate us every day.”

López’s declarations follow a decision last week by President Gustavo Petro to abruptly cancel a high-level meeting with the Mayor on the viability of the overland Line 1 of Metro de Bogotá. Petro wants to pressure López into accepting his plans for an underground subway line, rather than the overland one which is currently being built by Chinese contractors. Mayor López wants to proceed with the original, multi-billion dollar public works project. “This mayor will not accept impunity – citizens will not accept impunity – from our valued friends in the national government,” stated the Mayor.

Claudia López’s call for a massive civic mobilization will not spill into the streets. Instead, she wants as many residents in the city to download the Citizens Petition Against Impunity, sign it, and forward the document as a email to President Petro, Minister Osuna and Congress.

Directing her ire against Petro’s proposed Justice Reform, and one that would grant clemency to hundreds of violent offenders who participated in the riots and vandalism during 2021 National Strike, Mayor López outlined the high levels of impunity within the country’s justice system. “Only two out of every 10 criminals end up prosecuted, eight go unpunished and they (the government) are going to tell us that now those two out of 10 are going to be released with impunity?”.

President Petro had called for the unconditional release in December of persons arrested for acts of violence during Paro Nacional, including members of the so-called First Line movements who destroyed police command posts, as well as public and private infrastructure. “We have the right to live without fear, to be taken care of, and to punish in an exemplary way all those who harm us” reads a line from the one-page petition.

Below, the official link to download the Citizens Petition Against Impunity: