Imprisoned white collar criminals from Colombia’s former largest brokerage company have been afforded luxury treatment including barbecues and alcohol while in prison.
According to reports, Juan Carlos Ortiz, Tomas Jaramillo and Ricardo Martines, former employers of Interbolsa who were imprisoned for fraud following the liquidation of the company in 2012, were enjoying an alcohol fueled barbecue at the Bogota La Picota prison with fellow inmates, including former senator Guillermo Gaviria, former governors provincial governors Julio Acosta and Edilberto Castro, councilman Jose Juan Rodriguez and lawyer Alvaro Davila.
La Picota is a high security prison, and supposedly one of Colombia’s strictest, watched and secured, and home to high-profile inmates including drug lords and corrupt politicians. The prison became well-known, however, as the “parapolitics pavilion” due to high profile parties that took place there by politicians convicted of paramilitary connections.
The prison party on September 6 was brought to authorities’ awareness after it became disorderly, and had to be broken up by an elite group from INPEC, the National Penitentiary and Prison Institute.
The group intervened and regained control of the courtyard, the chosen party venue, where the inmates were found to be in possession of liquor bottles.
Director of the prison Vicente Ostos, told Blu Radio that the locked up former businessmen and politicians have permission to have barbecues, but the issue of the liquor is being investigated.
Following the revelation of this scandal, it was also found out that the detainees have access to nail technicians, massage therapists and cable televisions, among other luxuries.
“These people (manicurists etc.) were posing as normal visitors… We have been removing all of the privileges that they had in daily operations,” said Ostos.
This is not the first time that La Picota prison has been reported to be giving prominent imprisoned figures more of a holiday as opposed to any sort of prison related punishment.
In fact it is notorious for such escapades.
In 2013, then president of the prison Anselmo Escobar was suspended from his role following a number of incidents similar to the barbecue that has been exposed.
Escobar allegedly illegally granted permission to a group of congressmen to visit an imprisoned colleague for his birthday. The state representatives were there to visit Alvaro Pacheco Alvarez, a congressman arrested in late April over his alleged ties to paramilitary death squads.
While detainees in prisons such as La Picota can kick back and wait their sentences out in luxury, the majority of Colombia’s prisoners are part of a large scale humanitarian crisis, where overcrowding leads prisoners to suffer from scarcity of adequate healthcare, food and clean water.
According to a El Tiempo, the Ministry of Justice has said that special conditions will remain at the patio in La Picota where the white collar criminals were caught having their party.