Former Colombian congressman Luis Fernando Almario was arrested on Thursday for presumed ties to far-right paramilitaries.
The decision to capture Almario was made by the Supreme Court of Justice, which was in the process of launching investigations against the former congressman based on charges of conspiracy.
The conservative ex-politician is under investigation for seeking political support to get elected to public office from the now-demobilized Central Colivar Bloc, a subdivision of the paramilitary organization United Self Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC.
Amario said accusations against him were a “cartel of lies,” on Thursday upon arrival to the prosecutor general’s bunker in Bogota. According to newspaper El Espectador, Amario was then hospitalized with breathing problems just hours after being detained by the authorities.
This is not the first time Armario has been implicated with illegal armed actors. Almario was arrested in February 2008 on a Supreme Court order over alleged political connections with the FARC and for his supposed involvement in the guerrilla group’s murder of Colombian politician Diego Turbay Cote, but was released in May 2009 by Bogota’s Special Criminal Court.
In 2010 Almario was again named by the Supreme Court’s Justice and Peace Tribunal for allegedly having links with the FARC, though no conviction was handed down.
In Colombia the term ‘parapolitics’ is used to describe the ties between the AUC, public officials and lawmakers. According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, more than 11,000 politicians, officials and businessmen are suspected of having made pacts with the AUC.