An ex-AUC member could be expelled from Colombia’s Justice and Peace process amid claims that he threatened a lawyer, while he insists he is the victim of a conspiracy orchestrated by those implicated in his testimony, newspaper El Heraldo reported Tuesday.
The non-governmental organization (NGO) Colombian Commission of Jurists called for the expulsion from the Justice and Peace process of demobilized paramilitary Jose Gregorio Mangones Lugo on April 7. The NGO accused him of having issued death threats to lawyer Diana Maria Cadena Lozano.
Mangones, alias “Carlos Tijeras,” denies the accusations and counter-claimed that “there is a conspiracy between several politicians I have mentioned [in the “free versions”] in order that I miss the benefits [of the Justice and Peace Law]. It is clear that I have my calm conscience and I know I am taking things well.”
The former boss of the William Rivas front of the AUC’s North Bloc argued that “they must, at least, wait until a court has issued an opinion of whether I am guilty or not.”
Cadena, for her part, dismissed the right of the NGO to make such a request on her behalf, stating that “I have not granted, nor am I going to grant, power to the Commission to represent me in any matter,” she told El Heraldo.
She only learned of the expulsion request in the newspaper, adding that she had “to date, no direct evidence to substantiate such a request.”
“My sole purpose as an official is that the direct and indirect victims, as well as society, know the truth of what occurred,” the lawyer said, clarifying that she had not requested the expulsion of Carlos Tijeras, nor any other ex-paramilitary.
She did say, however, that a fellow North Bloc ex-paramilitary member, Augusto De Hoyos, had called her to let her know of Tijeras’ alleged criminal plans.
According to Tijeras, De Hoyos “wanted to extort me because, supposedly according to him, the Prosecutor General’s Office visited him in jail and asked him to say that I was a narco-trafficker in order to extradite me. I have witnesses, I placed a complaint in the judicial police with [Colombia’s prison authority] Inpec about the extortion.”
“He was asking me for money. As I did not give it to him, he invented that I was going to kill Dr. Diana Cadena, something that has no common sense,” said Tijeras.