Uribe’s cousin arrested for alleged paramilitary ties

Mario Uribe Escobar, ex-president of the Colombian Congress and cousin of President Alvaro Uribe, was arrested in Medellin on Wednesday on charges of collaborating with paramilitaries.

The arrest took place after the Supreme Court gave an order to detain him on charges of conspiring with various members of paramilitary organizations to commit crimes. Uribe is allegedly linked with former paramilitary Jairo Castillo Peralta, aka “Pitirri,” and Salvatore Mancuso, who commanded the Northern Bloc of the AUC (United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia).

The former paramilitaries accused Mario Uribe of having used his relationship with the AUC to buy cheap land in the department of Cordoba. They also accused him of making political deals in order to be elected to the Senate in 2002.

Former paramilitary Pitirri is a star witness of various cases investigated by the Supreme Court, which recently tried former congressmen Alvaro Garcia and Salvador Arana. In both cases, the politicians were sentenced to 40 years in prison.

The decision by the court comes six months after the high court once again became able to judge and sentence ex-congressmen involved with paramilitaries, in what has come to be known as the “parapolitics” scandal. Before that change of procedure, congressmen who resigned to their seats were investigated by the Prosecutor General, which allows them to appeal against any sentence.

Uribe was imprisoned in 2008, also on charges of links with paramilitaries. He sought political asylum with Costa Rica after the Prosecutor General’s Office ordered his arrest, but it was denied. In August, 2008, the then-deputy General Prosecutor and current Prosecutor General, Guillermo Mendoza Diago, released Mario Uribe on the grounds that there was not enough evidence to continue detaining him

Mario Uribe was head of Colombia Democratic party founded with his cousin and Colombia president Alvaro Uribe Velez. To date, six of the congressmen elected in 2006 from that political party are involved in the para-politics scandal.

Related posts

Central Colombia mining disaster kills 21, rescue attempts ended

At least 11 dead, 10 missing after central Colombia mine blasts

Venezuela extradites convicted former lawmaker to Colombia