Colombia’s Supreme Court convicted three former Congressmen Wednesday of using the intimidation of right-wing death squads to get voted into office.
Former Congressmen Luis Alberto Gil, Alfonso Riaño and Oscar Josue Reyes were given five to nine year jail sentences and fines amounting to $5.6 million for collaborating with the now defunct paramilitary group the AUC – a terrorist organization according to the U.S. and the E.U.
The three lawmakers were elected in 2002, and were part of the governing coalition of former President Alvaro Uribe who was elected into office months later.
Gil and Riaño, both members of the now-defunct Convergencia Ciudadana party, were sentenced to five years in prison because they had received electoral support of the AUC’s Central Bolivar Block after making a deal with its leader “Ernesto Baez.” Both men will also have to pay a $2 million fine.
Conservative Party politician Reyes was sentenced to nine years in jail and a $3.6 million fine, after the court ruled he had not only used paramilitary pressure to be elected into office, but also defended the political interests of the AUC in Congress.
Ever since the then-senator and current Bogota Mayor Gustavo Petro denounced the links between the powerful AUC and members of Congress in 2005, dozens of lawmakers — almost all part of the coalition of Uribe — were sent to prison.