National and indigenous authorities clashed this weekend over the pending arrest of Bogota’s former ombudsman who was sentenced to eight years in prison for corruption.
The former ombudsman of Colombia’s capital city, Francisco Rojas Birry, was sentenced to eight years in prison Friday for receiving $113 thousand from dismantled ponzi scheme DMG to finance his 2008 election as ombudsman.
Following his sentencing, national indigenous organization ONIC put Rojas Birry under custody claiming the indigenous politician should be tried under indigenous laws.
“It is not that we are against justice, but we are seeking that Rojas is tried by indigenous justice, who will sentence him according to their own laws and customs if found guilty,” ONIC leader Luis Evelis Andrade was quoted as saying by Spanish press agency EFE.
The custody of the corrupt politician caused friction between indigenous groups, some of which have claimed Rojas Birry should submit to ordinary justice because the crimes were committed outside of indigenous territory and in personal interest.
“This was a situation that occurred because of the initiative of one person and for personal benefit. Because of this he should respond to ordinary authorities,” a prominent indigenous leader from the Cauca department told Caracol Radio.
Rojas Birry was ombudsman of Colombia’s capital between 2008 and 2011 and was one of dozens of politicians who had been bribed by DMG, a company found guilty of laundering drug money. Hundreds of thousands of Colombians, particularly in the poor south of the country, lost their “investment” when the national government decided to shut down the company and prosecute its directors.