Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos announced Wednesday that a former paramilitary who has accused former president Alvaro Uribe of links to paramilitary groups will not be extradited to the United States.
“To inform our appreciated Alfonso Gomez, last week we have decided together with the Ministry of Justice not to extradite ‘El Canoso’ for now,” tweeted Santos.
Santos responded to former top Prosecutor General official Gomez’ plea not to extradite ex-AUC commander and to force El Canoso to respond for his crimes in Colombia and to tell the truth about what he knows, including links to politicians, businessmen and members of Armed Forces, before he would be extradited to the U.S.
Gomez called on Santos to send “a clear signal of his commitment to establish truth, justice and reparation for the victims” by not extraditing the paramilitary commander.
Last week, Colombia’s Supreme Court upheld a previous government decision to extradite argueing that those who demobilized had contributed little to victim compensation and the unraveling of ties between the AUC and Colombian politicians, officials and businessmen.
El Canoso claimed to have given money to Uribe’s 2002 election campaign and said he has been a “personal friend” of Uribe’s sons Geronimo and Tomas, who he accused of having ties to ex-politician Hector Ignacio Rodriguez, extradited to the U.S. for drug trafficking earlier this year.
The demobilized paramilitary commander was also one of the key witnesses in the process against the ex-president of Colombia’s congress, Javier Caceres, who was sentenced to nine years in prison for ties to the AUC.