U.S. Pressures Columbia to pass draconian asset forfeiture law, modeled after U.S. law
A "DRC-Talk" bulletin reported on September 21, 1996, that a new forfeiture law has been proposed in Colombia, under heavy pressure from the U.S. government, which "makes it easier for police to confiscate the property of "suspected" drug criminals; this law will apply to cases that occurred before the law is passed!"
"Under current Colombian law, goods can be confiscated only if prosecutors can prove during a criminal trial that the goods were purchased with the proceeds of criminal activities (**what a concept**). The government has been forced to return most of the goods it has confiscated. From 1989 to 1995, the government seized more than 400,000 acres of land from suspected drug dealers. About 270,000 acres of that have been returned.
"The proposed law separates the confiscation of property from the criminal trial of a suspect. Seizure of property would no longer be dependent on the outcome of a trial (**it's already this way in the U.S**). The property itself would be considered "guilty" because it was acquired with money from criminal activities.
"Because laws already on the books prohibit purchasing property with the proceeds of drug trafficking, all goods bought in the past by narcotics dealers - even those who are dead - would be subject to the new law.
"I ask you: How long will the U.S. be allowed to domestically practice and globally export Fascism? The USA has 80% of the world's arms market, but won't allow other countries to export a plant extract! The United States of Hypocrisy!
"It has become embarrassing to be an American. I will fight to have a government that always places the rights of the Individual before those of the State."
[-- end of DRC-Talk bulletin]
On November 22, 1996, the Reuter newswire, dateline Bogota, announced that the Colombian legislature buckled under pressure from the U.S., and was moving closer to passing the bill. [Please send us any updated information you find on this bill.]
"The so-called asset forfeiture law, aimed at cracking down on the drug-related crime of "illicit enrichment,'' was approved by two committees meeting jointly late Thursday after weeks of debate. . . . If passed, it would be signed into law by Samper Dec16 when the current session of Congress closes.
"The legislation was proposed more than three months ago by President Ernesto Samper, under heavy U.S. pressure to demonstrate his government's commitment to the global struggle against narcotics.
". . . Colombia, the world's top producer of cocaine and a leading supplier of heroin to the United States, was decertified as a full-fledged partner in the U.S. drug war last March because of Samper's alleged ties to drug traffickers charged with pouring millions of dollars into his 1994 election campaign. U.S. officials said Washington would seek to cripple Colombia's economy unless Samper bowed to demands for stiffer penalities against drug trafficking.
". . . The thorniest issue, and focal point of hours of heated debate, was the government's insistence that asset forfeiture take effect retroactively -- from 1974 when drug trafficking officially became a crime in Colombia, and 1989, when illicit enrichment was introduced into the country's penal code."