Skip to main content

Colombian journalist wanted for rebel ties

By the CNN Wire Staff
  • A Colombian court issued an arrest warrant for a reporter allegedly linked to the FARC
  • William Parra says that he has been denied due process
  • The journalist says that he doesn't even know the evidence against him
  • His former employer, Telesur, distanced itself from Parra

(CNN) -- A Colombian journalist wanted by authorities for alleged links to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, proclaimed his innocence in a statement Tuesday.

William Parra, an independent journalist who previously worked with the Venezuelan-based Telesur network, said he would appeal the allegations to international bodies to prove that the charges were a violation of his rights.

"As the innocent person I am I have asked and will continue to demand that my fundamental rights be respected," Parra said.

A Colombian court on Monday issued an arrest warrant and is seeking an international warrant for Parra. The court says there is evidence linking Parra to the FARC rebels.

Parra said that his attorneys have not had adequate access to defend him in court, and that he has not been told about any evidence against him. The judicial system has denied him due process, he said.

The El Tiempo newspaper cited Colombian officials as saying Parra appears on documents found on the computer of former FARC leader Raul Reyes, under the pseudonym "W" and "Leonardo." Reyes was killed in a cross-border raid by Colombian forces into Ecuador in 2008.

According to Colombian media, Parra is wanted for allegedly financing terrorist activities, conspiracy to commit crimes, and rebellion.

For its part, Telesur defended Parra's record while distancing themselves from his legal troubles. The network, which is financed by the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and is known for its leftist slant to its coverage, said the charges against Parra were a plot to discredit it.

In a statement, Telesur said that Parra worked for the network from 2006 to 2008, and worked with it after that on occasion as an independent journalist.

"Any investigation that the Colombian authorities bring against William Parra does not link Telesur in any way," the statement said. "Telesur rejects this new effort to criminalize its journalistic work."

FARC guerrillas have been waging war against the Colombian government for decades.