Colombia’s inspector general on Monday barred former Senator Miguel de la Espriella from holding public office for 20 years for his ties to paramilitary organization the AUC.
According to Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez, it is proven that the paramilitaries used their influence over the electorate in the northern Cordoba department to secure the election of de la Espriella in 2002 and 2006. In return, the former senator used his congressional power to serve the interests of the organization that was deemed terrorist by the U.S. and Europe in 2002.
De la Espriella was one of the politicians who signed the “Pact of Ralito,” an agreement between paramilitary leaders, businessmen and politicians to “refound” Colombia.
The former senator was sentenced to three years and seven months in jail in 2008. He is one of at least 37 politicians jailed for dealing with paramilitaries in what is known as the “parapolitics” scandal.