A federal judge in Washington called for the publication of classified documents pertaining to the extradition and subsequent prosecution and sentencing of three former AUC leaders, according to weekly Semana.
Federal Judge Ellen Huvelle called for the case to be reopened after former AUC leader Salvatore Mancuso’s lawyer, Joaquin Perez, requested that his client’s sentence be lowered.
Perez claimed that Mancuso, who was sentenced to 22 years in prison, deserved a lowered sentence due to his consistent cooperation with both the American and Colombian governments since his extradition in 2008, which helped respectively to stunt the trafficking of narcotics into the United States and demobilize the AUC in Colombia, reported Semana.
“He could have stayed with their influence and control, but Mr. Mancuso decided to channel his efforts to achieve peace and involved other AUC commanders to participate and bring peace and stability to a region which, otherwise, would be even more problematic,” reads Perez in a statement that was released to La Semana regarding Mancuso’s good intentions.
Furthermore, the letter released to Semana posited that according to the prosecution, Masculo was guilty of overseeing virtually every and all operations, when in reality, each sector was governed independently.
For that reason, the judge ordered the publication of Hernan Giraldo and and Rodrigo Tovar, two other AUC leaders.
Perez also argued that Mancuso was a victim of chain of command, and was merely a subordinate to Vicente and Carlos Castaño, the founders of the AUC paramilitary, and more specifically, who were in charge of the trafficking of cocaine across state borders, reported Semana.
Mancuso took over leadership of the AUC in 2004 and led the demobilization of that organization after the killing of the Castaño brothers.
The brothers had formed their paramilitary group as a self-defense force in the 1980s to protect their property and that of others from guerrilla attacks.
The organization demobilized between 2003 and 2006. Mancuso and 13 other AUC commanders were illegally extradited to the United States in 2008 while he and his former partners were confessing crimes and revealing ties with the military and Colombian politics.