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Garavito: Will Colombia's Worst Serial Killer Get Out Of Prison?

Luis Alfredo Garavito was sentenced to 40 years in prison for the rape of 200 children and the murder of 186 minors between the 1980s and 1990s .

Luis Alfredo Garavito

How viable is it that "The Beast" can go free by only paying a 20-year sentence? Photo: Archive

LatinAmerican Post Christopher Ramírez Hernández

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Leer en español: Garavito: ¿El mayor asesino en serie de Colombia podrá salir de prisión?

“La Bestia”, that is how Luis Alfredo Garavito is known, a man who was sentenced in 2001 to 40 years in prison in Colombia after his capture in 1999 and who himself confessed to being the intellectual and material author of the murder of at least 186 children and the rape of 200.

According to the authorities, this man who is currently in the maximum-security prison of Valledupar, in the department of Cesar on the Caribbean coast of Colombia, would have chosen his victims in 11 of the 32 departments that this country has, in addition to two Ecuadorian minors who also appear on his list.

For this reason, Garavito is known throughout the world as the most wicked serial killer of children. However, how is it possible that "The Beast" can go free by only paying a 20-year sentence?

A few days ago, Colombia was left in 'check' when it became known that the National Penitentiary and Prison Institute (INPEC), in charge of prisons in the country, asked a judge to consider giving Garavito the so-called "conditional release" taking into account that "He has behaved well during his time in prison."

According to a report made by the journalistic investigation and analysis program, Los Informantes, this phrase would be part of a letter that the director of the Valledupar prison, César Fernando Caraballo Quiroga, issued to the Colombian authorities, along with another series of documents with which he would seek to guarantee the release of Garavito.

However, according to the same program, the leaked letter would not be recent but was issued in May of this year. Although the news has caused a stir to date, the truth is that the judge in charge of the case has already decided that the man must remain in prison because he does not comply with all the requirements requested by INPEC.

As explained from the office of the First Court for the Execution of Penalties and Security Measure of the Valledupar Circuit, the serial murderer would have paid three-fifths of his sentence (328 months of the 480 he was sentenced to). 

Now, although for the judge the reasons shown by the INPEC are valid and should be the subject of debate taking into account the current legal situation of Garavito, the truth is that in May it was also decided that conditional release, in this case, could not be given because the murderer still has large debts with society, including the full payment of the damages caused to the relatives of the murdered minors.

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An inevitable freedom?

Now, although the majority of the country wants to see Garavito in jail for life, the truth is that several experts in the field have indicated some concern when assuring that no matter how much hatred and rejection the man causes in Colombia, his case in It actually has a lot of validity and if studied thoroughly it could lead to his parole.

For his part, criminal lawyer Marlon Fernando Díaz said in an interview with El Tiempo that the reason was very simple: “because in a Social and Democratic State of law the application of the principle of legality prevails: no one can be convicted except in accordance with the laws pre-existing to the act that is imputed to him ”.

In that case, the court's argument of non-restitution to his victims would not be valid since at the time of his conviction this was not an item that was taken as law.

At the moment, Garavito's probation is a situation that has not become a reality, however, it is not uncommon for his study to continue because in legal terms "La Bestia" is entitled to said benefit for his time in prison and the good behavior shown in it.