Assassination of Magistrate Álvaro Medina Ochoa

Magistrate Álvaro Medina Ochoa was assassinated 15 days after the death of the journalist Diego Medina, his brother. Photograph: El Mundo

The Magistrate of the Criminal Court of the High Court of Medellín, Álvaro Medina Ochoa, was assassinated after receiving threats from Pablo Escobar and the Medellín Cartel.

At around 8 pm on April 8, 1985, when the magistrate was in front of his home in La Floresta neighborhood, Medellín, with his wife Luz Estela Giraldo, he was confronted by the driver of a motorbike, who shot him at point-blank range in his chest, arm and leg. His wife took him to the Policlínica hospital, where he passed away.

Previous Threats

The magistrate, aged 40, and another four lawyers had been threatened for making some decisions that directly affected the drug traffickers, including the first measures to arrest Pablo Escobar and some of his lieutenants.

For 12 months, Medina Ochoa was visited by several lawyers of the Medellín Cartel, who offered him bribes in an attempt to sway his decisions. For his refusal to accept them, he received up to eight intimidating phone calls per day and written letters of condolence for his own death. Therefore, the Attorney General assigned two bodyguards to him, who were dismissed because the magistrate thought that his life was no longer at risk.

“My father and his assassinated colleagues were incorruptible and they fulfilled their duty despite the threats,”, Ricardo Medina Giraldo, the son of Álvaro Medina Ochoa, told El Colombiano newspaper, April 8, 2015

After the event, the Colombian Government announced that it would step up efforts to combat organized crime. However, the homicide remains unpunished. Álvaro Medina’s family sent a right to petition to the Attorney General in October 2013 for the case to be declared a crime against humanity. To date, the request has not been answered.


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