Posted by Cameron Sumpter on Mar 18, 2010 Leave a comment

Former senator sentenced for paramilitary ties

alvaro araujo castro, parapolitics, paramilitary

Colombia’s supreme court sentenced former senator Alvaro Araujo Castro to nine years and three months in prison for his ties to paramiltaries, according to Caracol Radio.

The court ruled that Araujo had conspired with former paramilitary leader Rodrigo Tovar Pupo, alias “Jorge 40” to intimidate voters with violence in the lead up to the 2002 elections.

Investigations into human rights violations by Araujo are to be reopened, as the Supreme Court overruled the acquittal of the former senator by Prosecutor Maria del Rocio Cortes Vargas, who had cleared him of any responsibility.

Araujo has also been ordered to pay a fine equalling 7,222 times the minimum wage, or just over $56,000.

The ‘medical condition’ that had kept Araujo under house arrest has now been disproved, and the Supreme Court ordered his immediate transfer from his appartment in Bogota to Picota Prison.

Araujo was first accused of having paramilitary ties in early 2006 by now presidential candidate, Gustavo Petro.

He was arrested on February 7, 2007 for having links to paramilitaries, as well as alleged involvement in the kidnapping and extorsion of the brother of former Mayor of Valledupar, Elias Ochoa.

Alvaro Araujo Castro’s sister, Maria Consuelo Araujo Castro, resigned from her position as Minister of Foreign Relations following the arrest of her brother.

Their father, Alvaro Araujo Noguera, has also been widely accused of having links to paramilitary groups.