Former Colombian Senator Ciro Ramirez has been granted freedom just three months after being sentenced to seven and a half years in prison for paramilitary ties, despite allegedly falsifying documents that would reduce his original sentence.
Ex-Conservative Senator Ramirez, who was sentenced on March 10 for having made an alliance with the Central Bolivar bloc of the AUC to help him win a seat in Congress in 2002, was surprisingly granted his release on Tuesday by a Bogota judge who deemed that he had completed three-fifths of his sentence.
Ramirez was captured in February, 2008, and has thus spent just under three and a half years in prison, far short of the four and a half years that would constitute three-fifths of a seven and a half year sentence.
The time discrepancy centers around the calculation of the community service element within the Colombian penal system, which offers the chance to reduce prison sentences through hours of study or community service work.
Nevertheless, Ramirez is perhaps the most controversial example of the legal opportunity for reduced sentences, after it emerged on March 30 that the disgraced senator had allegedly falsified numerous community service documents, artificially augmenting his hours of study and agricultural work.
The former president of the Conservative Party even claimed that he had completed full working days while attending hearings during his trial before the Supreme Court, as well as on Sundays.
Colombia’s Supreme Court has accordingly called on the Inspector General’s Office and the Prosecutor General’s Office to investigate the documentation that permitted Ramirez’s early release, specifically the criteria set by the national prison authority INPEC to satisfy conditions for sentence reduction.