Colombian former congressman for the Caldas department, Juan Pablo Sanchez, was found guilty Wednesday of having links to illegal armed groups and has been sentenced to seven years in prison, reported newspaper El Espectador.
The high court ruled that the Liberal Party ex-congressman was guilty of conspiracy to commit a crime because he had met, at least once, with the former commander of the Central Bolivar Block of the AUC, Ivan Rober Duque Gaviria, alias “Ernesto Baez.” The court heard that the two men made a pact with the aim of helping Sanchez to obtain an upper-hand in the 2006 elections.
The agreement between the politician and paramilitary meant that the ex-paramilitary leader would logistically and financially support Sanchez “in his political aspirations, and also gave him instructions as to which places would be (best suited to recruiting voters).”
Juan Pablo Sanchez was first arrested for his suspected ties to Ernesto Baez in 2009.
Over seventy lawmakers have been implicated in the so-called ‘para-politics’ scandal that revealed ties between paramilitary death squads and prominent Colombian political and economic personalities.