Political prisoner Simón Trinidad successfully settles First Amendment lawsuit

Statement from the National Committee to Free Simon Trinidad. Simon Trinidad is a Colombian revolutionary illegally captured and extradited to the U.S. on bogus charges that required four separate trials to lock him up in solitary confinement in the Florence, Colorado supermax prison. The Special Court guaranteed in the 2016 Peace Accords is requesting his presence in order to move the country toward a peace with justice.

On January 24, 2022, Simón Trinidad filed a complaint in Federal District Court in Denver, Colorado against U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland and the Bureau of Prisons. The complaint (22-cr-00193) asserted that the denial of access to a Colombian attorney violated his right to freedom of speech and freedom of association guaranteed by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.

He further asserted that his access to an attorney was critical, as he has numerous cases in the Jurisdicción Especial para la Paz (JEP), or Special Peace Jurisdiction, a specialized court in Colombia created to resolve issues related to Colombia’s 50-year armed conflict between the Colombian government and the FARC.

In 2017 Simón Trinidad requested access to a Colombian lawyer and his request was denied. Mr. Trinidad made numerous subsequent requests for access to a Colombian lawyer which the Bureau of Prisons ignored.

On June 9, the United States attorney general modified Simón Trinidad’s “Special Administrative Measures” (SAMS) to allow contact with a Colombian attorney and the lawsuit is now resolved. Trinidad’s Colombian attorney will now be traveling to the U.S. and will confer with his client.

This agreement to amend the SAMS reflects the importance of Simón Trinidad to the Colombian peace process.

Colombian political prisoner Simón Trinidad, known in the Bureau of Prisons as Juvenal Ovidio Ricardo Palmera Pineda, was a peace negotiator for the FARC.

He has been held in extreme isolation under Special Administrative Measures imposed by the attorney general of the United States since January of 2005.

Trinidad has been jailed at United States Prison ADMAX (a supermax prison) in Florence, Colorado since 2008. Simón Trinidad’s SAMS order states that he be segregated and isolated from society, including other prisoners, with very few exceptions. He can receive no mail or visitors.