Colombia’s former Minister of Agriculture Andres Felipe Arias dropped his demand to be released from jail Monday.
He had previously pleaded not guilty during his indictment hearing and was sent to jail to await his corruption trial.
A judge ruled that Arias be jailed until his trial begins at the prosecutors request. Arias’ lawyer, Jorge Anibal Gomez Gallego, dropped a motion for his client to be released ahead of the Supreme Court trial. “We felt that the process was introducing some delay,” said Gallego.
“With the completion of the investigation stage and the announcement of the start of the trial we consider it unneccessary,” he added.
The Supreme Court case, slated to begin Wednesday, is part of the Agro Ingreso Seguro (AIS) scandal in which millions of government grants meant for poor farmers ended up in the hands of rich landowners and families.
The former minister demanded more than $300,000 in damages from the Colombian government May 3 for emotional suffering after he was barred from public service for 16 years.
The investigating judge accepted Antonio Navarro, former governor of the department of Nariño, as a defense witness in the case. He will reportedly provide details on how the process of granting subsidies in the department worked.
Arias has been defended by former President Alvaro Uribe, who has continually claimed the innocence of his one-time protege, saying that he “conceived of Agro Ingreso Seguro so that the national agriculture could be competitive.”