Colombian former guerrilla Raul Agudelo Medina, alias “Olivo Saldaña,” is to admit his role in the staging of a 2006 fake FARC demobilization in exchange for a reduced sentence, according to local media.
Saldaña will appear before a Bogota court May 11 and reportedly plans to plead guilty to charges of embezzlement, conspiracy, procedural fraud and the trafficking, possession and manufacturing of weapons intended for exclusive use by the armed forces.
Saldaña’s lawyers are seeking a 50% reduction in his prison term in return for his cooperation.
According to the prosecution, the former guerrilla helped gather together 70 people and paid them $283 each to take part in the 2006 staged demobilization of the fake “Cacica Gaitana” FARC front.
Prosecutors alleged that Saldaña contacted unemployed, homeless, and drug addicts and trained them to pose as demobilizing guerrillas, allegedly with the participation of then-peace commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo.
The avowal to plead guilty is the latest in a series of twists and turns surrounding the Saldaña case, with the former guerrilla saying this month he would offer the Prosecutor General information on Cacica Gaitana in exchange for a reduced sentence, having previously claimed the false demobilization never happened.
The false demobilization scandal has caused great tension between the Prosecutor General’s Office and former President Alvaro Uribe, who is accusing the judicial branch of politically persecuting members of his administration. Restrepo fled the country before prosecutors could file charges and is hiding at an undisclosed location.