Protests have sparked after the brutal rape and murder of a 7-year-old indigenous, Colombian girl who was found dead in an apartment earlier this month in one of the country’s affluent neighborhoods.
Yuliana Andrea Samboni was reportedly kidnapped December 4 while playing with her brothers in the poor neighborhood of Bosque Calderon Tejada. A man driving an SUV snatched the girl in a moment captured on surveillance video.
The suspect, Rafael Uribe, a 38-year-old architect, has been charged with aggravated femicide, kidnapping, torture and “violent sexual intercourse."
Authorities say Uribe allegedly took Yuliana to his family's luxurious apartment, where he sexually abused and tortured the girl before strangling her. Her body was found under a hot tub on the terrace of the apartment, according to reports.
Uribe and one other person tried to cover up the heinous crime, reports said. Uribe was later arrested in the hospital where his brother reportedly checked him in for a "drug overdose."
Since the murder, protests have been held across the country out of fear that Uribe, who is reportedly a known socialite, will use his influence to avoid accountability.
Protesters held up signs that said “Justice for Yuliana and all the Anonymous” and “Every day in Colombia 22 girls are victims of violence.”
People also shouted, "no more rapists, defend the children."
According to the Human Rights Watch’s 2016 world report, gender-based violence was described as “widespread” in Colombia and victims often don’t receive proper care and perpetrators are rarely brought to justice.
Yuliana's murder called attention to the systemic violence against girls and women in the country and illuminated the class divide contributing to their exploitation.
Last year, Colombia approved a femicide law that imposed tougher punishments on those who murder women and girls in an effort to lower their high rate of crimes against women.
People also took to social media with the hashtag #YosoyYuliana, (I am Yuliana) and #NiUnaMas (Not again)
The National Indigenous Organization of Colombia also responded to the "atrocious crime," saying that Yuliana "knew the cruelty and misogyny of a macho, racist and inequitable society."
Uribe pleaded not guilty.