A former congresswoman escaped prison while on medical leave, Colombia’s prison authority said Tuesday.
Former senator-elect Aida Merlano was sentenced to 15 years in prison for election fraud last month, but was allowed to leave the Buen Pastor prison for a dentist appointment and fled.
According to video footage provided by the dentist, the politician climbed out of a window, jumped on the back of a motorcycle that was waiting for her and took off while her guard was inside.
It is a mystery why Merlano was allowed to see a dentist other than the one provided by her prison.
According to the law, the director of prison authority INPEC must give personal permission for medical leaves and may only do so under special circumstances.
The transfer of inmates may be carried out when the state of health so warrants, following a review by the forensic doctor; when necessary for reasons of internal order of the establishment; when the Disciplinary Board approves it as a stimulus for good conduct; when it is necessary to decongest the establishment; or when it is necessary for reasons of security of the inmate or other inmates. In any case, the Director of INPEC must resolve the request taking into account the availability of quotas and security conditions.
Law 1709 article 2.7
INPEC said on Twitter that an “investigation is ongoing.”
Meanwhile, Merlano became a fugitive two weeks after she became Colombia’s first-ever politician to be sentenced to prison for vote-buying.
The former house representative was arrested almost immediately after the election to the senate in March last year.
At her campaign headquarters prosecutors found firearms, a large pile of cash and later discovered she had used a sophisticated system to check if voters who accepted her money actually voted for her.
The politician of President Ivan Duque‘s minority coalition spent more than $2 million on the illegal part of her campaign alone.