The State Council on Thursday overturned a 12-year ban from office of the former mayor of Medellin who in 2011 had accused an aspiring successor of ties to criminal gangs while legally impeded to influence elections that were ongoing at the time.
Medellin’s former mayor, Alonso Salazar, was barred from holding public office in 2011 for allegedly manipulating local elections. According to local media Salazar released slanderous pictures and statements to the press, resulting in dismissal and a 12 year suspension from public office, imposed by the Prosecutor General’s Office.
The State Council overturned the decision and restored Salazar’s political rights, just three years into the sanction. The decision came after Salazar filed for an annulment of the sanction in December 2013, which came before the court in February.
According to a statement by the State Council, sanctions against Salazar were “disproportionate” to the alleged crimes.
However, according to the Attorney General, Salazar was sanctioned for participating in “influencing elections,” when those running should have the “greatest impartiality” of all.
One example of the “slander” were reports issued by Salazar against political rival, Luis Perez, which stated that Perez had strong links with paramilitary groups
Salazar’s lawyer, Luis Alfonso Cadavid, told El Tiempo newspaper that the decision made by the Prosecutor General was unlawful.
“We are talking about democracy which is not just based on transparency, but also the freedom of the citizens.”
Salazar stated that he had no immediate plans to re-enter politics but will continue with current research projects and journalism.
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