Colombia’s Supreme Court sentenced Wednesday former congressmen Edgar Eulises Torres and Odin Sanchez to 9 years in prison for ties to paramilitary death squads, reported news source El Espectador Wednesday.
Today’s sentence confirms that the two congressmen did in fact have ties with paramilitary death squads. The confessions from ex-paramilitaries during the Justice and Peace processes provided sufficient evidence against Torres and Sanchez.
Ex-paramilitary leader Jorge Ivan Laverde Zapata, alias “El Iguano,” accused Torres of receiving AUC support in their political aspirations during his testimony as part of the 2005 Justice and Peace Law.
The officials are two of the 23 government representatives implicated in dealing with paramilitary groups by former paramilitary leader El Aleman, who gave testimony to Colombia’s Justice and Peace tribunal. His evidence was part of his demobilization under Colombia’s Justice and Peace process, in which former paramilitaries are given reduced sentences in exchange for collaborating with justice. El Aleman is currently serving a 14 year prison sentence.
The prosecutor in the case also said that Torres attempted to bribe witnesses Jose Luis Arrieta, alias “Mauricio,” and Elmer Rebolledo, alias “Escamoso.” Mauricio and Escamoso retracted their initial accusations against Torres because they said that they could not continue with their testimony while under oath.