A young imprisoned Colombian church worker was abruptly released after spending 130 days in jail, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) reported on Monday. Mauricio Avilez, who was arrested in early June, was freed Oct. 20 after his attorney successfully argued that there was insufficient evidence to incarcerate him. He has since gone into while authorities continue to investigate his case and his attorneys fight to have it dropped.
Since his arrest by an elite arm of the Colombian military, Avilez, 24, has remained in jail while the government investigated whether the accusations leveled against him by a paid informant could be turned into criminal charges.
According to the Presbyterian New Service, an informant reportedly linked Avilez to the bombing of a Barranquilla department store in which one shopper died and others were seriously injured, leading to allegations against Avilez ranging from terrorism and murder to guerrilla activity.
Rev. Milton Mejia, executive director of the Presbyterian Church of Colombia (PCC) told the Presbyterian News Service that the church is celebrating Avilez's release, enjoying the moment. But they know the troubles not yet over.
"On the one hand, it shows us that everything they said about Mauricio was a lie," Mejia said. "On the other hand, we know that we have to find ways to protect ourselves, that they can launch an investigation against us at any time.