Jesús Héctor Gallego Herrera

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Jesús Héctor Gallego Herrera
DiedJune 1971
OccupationRoman Catholic priest
Known forforced disappearance

Jesús Héctor Gallego Herrera (died June 1971) was a Colombian Roman Catholic priest who was kidnapped and killed in Panama following his opposition to the Panamanian military ruler Omar Torrijos.


Gallego organized peasant cooperatives in Santa Fé District of Panama's Veraguas Province, where his work angered both landowners and officials of the ruling National Guard. He disappeared from Santa Fé on June 9, 1971.[1]

Investigation and convictions[edit]

On November 20, 1993, three soldiers were convicted of his abduction and murder. Eugenio Nelson Magallon, one of the three convicted, was convicted in absentia, as he had been a fugitive since the 1989 US invasion of Panama. The trial led to a national debate in Panama over the reputation of Torrijos, who was popularly seen by some as a benevolent dictator.[1]

In December 2000, human remains were discovered at a Panamanian National Guard base, incorrectly believed to be Gallego's. President Mireya Moscoso appointed a Truth Commission to investigate the site and those at other bases.[2] In 2002, the commission concluded that Gallego had been forcibly disappeared but that the remains were not his.[3]


  1. ^ a b "3 in Panama Guilty in '71 Priest Killing". Chicago Sun-Times.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). November 22, 1993. Retrieved November 7, 2012.
  2. ^ Harding 2006, p. 131.
  3. ^ Juan Zamorano (April 17, 2002). "Truth commission documents 110 disappearances, deaths at hands of Panama's military". Associated Press  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved November 7, 2012.


  • Robert C. Harding (2006). The History of Panama. Greenwood Press. ISBN 031333322X.