The United States has implemented measures to allow Colombian prosecutors easier access to extradited leaders of paramilitary organization AUC, says Colombia’s prosecutor general.
In an interview with newspaper El Espectador, Prosecutor General Guillermo Mendoza said that five paramilitary chiefs who already have been convicted by American judges and still want to cooperate with Colombian justice have been moved to a Miami jail to give Colombian judicial officials easier access to them.
“They also arranged that we have access to them for 21 hours a week for the interrogations or when they want to make statements on video, for example when the court requires them to. There is a substantial change in the cooperation, because now we have time to interrogate them, while before it would happen that we weren’t even able to see them,” said Mendoza.
According to the PG, paramilitary leaders Guillermo Perez (“Pablo Sevillano”), Diego Ruiz (“El Primo”), Ramiro “Cuco” Vanoy, Diego Fernando Murillo (“Don Berna“) and Francisco Javier Zuluaga Lindo (“Gordolindo”) will be transferred to Miami.
Paramilitary leaders Salvatore Mancuso, Hernan Giraldo (“El Patron”), Juan Carlos Sierra (“El Tuso”), Miguel Mejia Munera (“The Twin”), Jose Gregorio Teran (“El Pipon”) and Norberto Quiroga (“Cinco Cinco”) will all be moved to Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia, where they will await sentencing.
Colombian prosecutors will be allowed access to these AUC leaders for 40 hours a week, Mendoza said.
Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe extradited fourteen of the AUC’s top leaders to the U.S. in May 2009. The extradition was condemned by the Supreme Court, which hadn’t authorized it, and by victims’ rights groups, who accused the government of trying to prevent links between the AUC and government and army officials from coming out.