A former congressman from the east of Colombia was called to trial Wednesday to respond to accusations he has collaborated with rebel group FARC.
According to the prosecution, former House Representative Pedro Nelson Pardo was elected into Congress in 2006 thanks to a number of military interventions by the FARC that impeded voting in three municipalities. The disgraced politician won those elections after receiving 55 votes more than his then-opponent.
Electoral authorities had already nullified the election over the FARC intervention and Pardo was arrested in April 2011 in order to respond to the authorities over the alleged electoral fraud.
The former lawmaker was also mentioned on the computer of the FARC’s slain “foreign minister,” “Raul Reyes.” Evidence from these computers could not be used as evidence however, because the Colombian military failed to respect the chain of custody after seizing the computers from the Ecuador camp where Reyes was killed in a cross-border air raid.
Pardo might become the first Colombian politician to be convicted of ties to the country’s largest guerrilla organization. Charges against other suspected lawmakers were dropped following the exclusion of the Reyes files as evidence. Only one more former senator, Piedad Cordoba, is still facing charges for “FARC-politics.”
More than 50 former congressman are in prison for using illegal armed groups for political gain. The majority of these lawmakers were incarcerated over their ties to the most powerful enemy of the FARC, the now-defunct paramilitary umbrella organization AUC.