Colombian ex-senator sentenced to 7.5 years for para-politics

Former Senator Juan Carlos Martinez has been sentenced to seven and a half years, 90 months, in prison by the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court for his connections to the Calima bloc of the AUC.

According to the court, the senator from the Cauca department received help in his electoral race from the AUC’s bloc in the Pacific region.

Extradited paramilitary commander Ever Veloza García, alias ‘HH,’ implicated the senator in testimony, saying “I authorized Mr. ‘Fernando Politico’ (Carlos Efren Guevara Cano) to do a campaign or to speak with the communities, taking advantage of this influence that we had in the communities, so they would vote in the favor of Mr. Martinez.”

The trial also revealed that drug trafficking brothers, the Gonzalez Rivas’, known as the “Kings of the Pacific,” had made the request to paramilitary organizations to “cooperate with the electoral aspirations of Martinez,” reported El Espectador.

In February, the convicted senator was moved from his La Picota jail cell in Bogota, where he had been detained since his 2009 arrest, to a jail in Barranquilla because he threw a birthday party inside the prison consisting of dozens of guests, including a salsa star.

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