Witness reports threats in north-Colombian parapolitics trial

A witness in a north-Colombia trial against a politician with alleged paramilitary links has complained that he received threats from neo-paramilitaries and was urged to change his testimony by the local notary Tuesday, W Radio reported.

The witness is part of a “parapolitics trial” against one of 48 government officials from the town of Arboletes on the Caribbean coast where this week alone two key witnesses in similar cases were murdered.

Last week journalist Luis Eduardo Gomez was killed in Arboletes, while providing witness testimony for a parapolitics trial. Jose Vincente Botero who linked crime in the area to collusion between politicians and neo-paramilitaries, was murdered Monday by gunmen. Three people have been murdered in the area in the past 15 days.

The series of trials examines links between political leaders and the AUC, Colombia’s principle paramilitary group which is linked to drug trafficking and tens of thousands of human rights abuses including kidnappings, murder and rape. The AUC formally disbanded in 2006, but neo-paramilitaries — groups formed from the structure of the AUC — have continued to operate largely in its stead.

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