INTERNATIONAL NEWS - World Fress Freedom winning journalist Jineth Bedoya on Monday accused the Colombian state of torture, rape and kidnapping during a virtual hearing at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.
"My life was destroyed, they killed me the morning of May 25" 2000, said Bedoya.
She testified that she was seized by a group of right-wing paramilitaries from outside a prison in the capital Bogota and then tortured and raped for 16 hours before being abandoned on the side of a road.
At the time, Bedoya was investigating an arms trafficking network operating out of the La Modelo prison and claimed the state, including an "influential" police chief, was complicit in her abduction.
The paramilitaries, some of whom have already been convicted for the crimes committed against Bedoya, were right-wing militias that fought left-wing guerrillas during Colombia's bloody 60-year conflict. They were dissolved in 2006.
Bedoya says she has since suffered two decades of "persecution, intimidation and constant threats."
She asked for protection for herself and her mother, as well as for the La Modelo prison to be closed down.
The prison was "the office that connected all the crime in the country at that time," she said, adding that it was a "symbol of impunity."
The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights referred the case to the court in 2019, considering that the Colombian state had failed to implement recommendations to investigate Bedoya's case, pay damages and adopt measures to prevent a repeat of such incidents.
The commission said the state knew the risks Bedoya was taking but failed to protect her.
Colombia's representative at the hearing, Camilo Gomez, accused the court's judges of "lacking objectivity" and called for them to be recused.
Both the court and commission are autonomous organs of the Organization of American States.
The court's decisions are definitive and unappealable.