Posted by Adriaan Alsema on Jan 3, 2012 Leave a comment

Colombia’s chief prosecutor slams inauguration of jailed mayors

Colombia Viviane Morales

Colombia’s Prosecutor General on Tuesday fiercely criticized the recent inauguration of two mayors from the north of Colombia who are in jail on murder and parapolitics charges.

During a speech in Bogota, Prosecutor General Viviane Morales called the swearing in of the allegedly criminal mayors a “mockery of the system” and demanded the country’s Interior Ministry and National Electoral Council take action.

“The Interior Ministry and the National Electoral Council are who will have to decide on the judicial situation in which [the jailed mayors] are in, but it’s obvious that a person cannot carry out his job as a mayor from jail,” Morales said.

The Prosecutor General was responding to the controversy caused by media reports that the mayors from the towns of Moñitos and Los Cordobas, both in the northern Cordoba department, were inaugurated last Friday and Saturday despite being jailed in Bogota’s La Picota jail.

Jose Felix Martinez (U Party) was sworn in Friday as mayor of the town of Moñitos while in jail awaiting trial for allegedly having made a pact with paramilitary leader “El Aleman” to secure his 2004 election as mayor through paramilitary intimidation of the electorate.

Bonifacio Contreras (Liberal Party) was sworn in Saturday despite being jailed 10 days before the October 30 elections on conspiracy and murder charges. Contreras is accused of having masterminded the murder of a competing mayoral candidate in 2003.