A former Liberal Party politician convicted of colluding with Pablo Escobar in the murder of a presidential candidate has slammed the Colombian Supreme Court, saying he will launch an international appeal.
Alberto Santofimio is currently serving a 24-year sentence for his role in the murder of Luis Carlos Galan, who at the time was the strong favorite in the presidential race. Galan had been campaigning on a platform of extradition for drug kingpins.
A year after he was sentenced in 2007, the Supreme State Court overturned the decision, citing a lack of substantial evidence. However, the original verdict was reinstated by the national Supreme Court in August 2011.
In an interview with El Espectador, Santofimio said, “what they did to me here, because of media and social pressure, was a holocaust of evidence.”
As there are no appeal options on Supreme Court judgments, lawyer’s for the ex-senator are preparing to take his case abroad, according to El Espectador.
Santofimio said, “it is lamentable that the omnipotence and infallibility of the [Supreme Court] judges has been created, that they are the only ones in the country who don’t have passions and who never make mistakes in their rulings.”
Although rumors of Santofimio’s involvement in the murder were rife during the original investigation, he was only brought to trial 17 years later when one of Escobar’s lieutenants’s changed his original testimony to implicate him.
According to alias “Popeye’s” testimony, Santofimio said to Escobar, “if Galan is president, I am sure he will extradite you, he will use all the power of the State to get to you, this time I tell it to you with knowledge of the facts: Pablo, kill him.”
The former minister of justice and twice presidential candidate denied accusations he was part of Pablo Escobar’s political wing, telling El Espectador he only met the drug baron before 1983 when Escobar was active in the Liberal Party. He said, “my biggest mistake was having met Escobar at Liberal Party conventions and campaigns.”