A Danish court acquitted seven people who raised funds for a guerrilla group in the Andes last week, prompting an angry protest from the government of Colombia. The group raised funds through the online sale of t-shirts.
According to the Copenhagen City Court, who ruled on the case, the activities of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) do not constitute as terrorism under Danish law. Although the FARC are known to murder and kidnap, their activities are not intended to strike fear in the general population and therefore do not fall under the category of terrorist activities.
Colombia’s Foreign Minister, Fernando Araujo released a statement saying: “These types of rulings are a threat to the international efforts against terrorism.”
The FARC, as well as the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, for whom the Danish group also raised money, are both considered terrorist organisations by both the European Union and the United States. The seven Danes were charged with breaking a law against financing terrorists for that reason.
Araujo’s statement further declared that Colombia “does not share the court’s decision of acquitting people who financed an organisation that has kidnapped nearly 7,000 people in the last decade, in addition to killing hundreds annually – violent acts that were documented.” According to Araujo these documents were provided to the Danish government by the Colombian government.
Internet sales of t-shirts printed with the acronyms FARC and PFLP raised US$2,060 for the groups and were handled through a company called Fighters and Lovers. Before the transfer could be made to the groups, however, Danish authorities stepped in.
According to one defendant, Michael Schoelardt, “freedom fighting is not terrorism.”
The Colombian authorities are now requesting that Denmark pursue a labour union which has claimed to have made a donation of US$1,970 to the FARC.