Former lawmaker Rocio Arias, convicted of making pacts with paramilitary death squads, publicly repented after being released from jail, saying she paid her dues to society.
Arias, who served three-fifths of her sentence, or 27 months, said that she had paid her dues to society and justice, reported Caracol Radio.
“[After] two years of being deprived of freedom one pays one’s dues to justice and society; and I am very happy to reunite with my family and with society,” Arias told the radio station.
However, she also said that the Justice and Peace process that the Uribe government arranged with former paramilitaries was a failure and regretted having yielded to the authorities and accepting charges of conspiracy.
“What happened with the peace process makes me sad; had I known things would have ended like this I never would have accepted the charges and neither would I have been delivered to justice,” Arias said.
Convicted of ties to paramilitaries, Arias said that there were many elements to the issue of paramilitary activity in Colombia and its relations with politics, but she personally did not want to be involved, explaining that she would dedicate herself to activities other than politics, reports newspaper El Espectador.
Arias said that she would not vote for the re-election of President Alvaro Uribe because she no longer considers him a friend, and said that she felt “abandoned” by him during the two years she spent in jail.
Faced with the decision of the Supreme Court, which opened an investigation against Arias for allegedly being a perpetrator of bribery in the case of former congressman Luis Fernando Velasco, Arias said that she was willing to cooperate with justice.
“I always tell the truth – I greatly respect Colombian justice, I greatly respect the decisions of the Court and its wisdom, … I respect the Prosecution and above all I respect justice,” she declared.
However, Arias alleged that she was mistreated by the director general of Colombia’s Penitentiary Institute INPEC, Teresa Moya, and denounced alleged acts of corruption within the prison El Buen Pastor, where she was held.
The former senator is in talks with the Mayor of Bogotá to serve as guide a program of demobilization and reintegration into society and combat the problem of emerging gangs that are making an appearance in Bogota.