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Riot police protect the alleged murderer of a seven-year-old girl as protesters try to reach him. Credit: Guillermo Legaria/Stringer

People have taken to the streets of Columbia in outrage to demand justice for the killing of seven-year-old Yuliana Samboni.

The little girl was kidnapped by a man with a grey van while she was playing outside her front garden in a poverty-stricken area of Bogota.

Hours later her body was found hidden beneath a hot tub in the luxurious apartment of Rafael Uribe Noguera – a wealthy architect living in the city's rich Chapinero Alto quarter.

She was found strangled to death and her body was smeared in cooking oil, and had signs of rape and torture.

Noguera, 38, was arrested at the Vascular Navarra Hospital, after his brother checked him in there following a cocaine overdose. He has since been charged with aggravated femicide (a sex-based hate crime term), kidnapping, torture and "violent sexual intercourse".

The news of her death sparked wide protests for justice for her life, some held vigils with candles and flowers while others chanted "rapist" and "murderer" as they tried to reach Noguera on the day of his court appearance on 6 December.

Columbian protests
Rafael Noguera denies charges of rape and aggravated femicide over death of Yuliana Samboni. Guillermo Legaria / Stringer

He denies all charges against him. If he is convicted he could be handed a 60-year prison sentence.