Colombian Court Finds Congressman Guilty

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BOGOTA, Aug. 2 (UPI) — A Colombian congressman was sentenced to eight years in prison after being found guilty of ties to paramilitary death squads, officials said.

Colombia’s Supreme Court found former Congressman Jairo Merlano guilty for using links to violent paramilitary forces to gain his election to Congress in 2002, El Espectador reported Tuesday.

Merlano was arrested Saturday morning after the court ordered the Prosecutor General’s Office to reopen the case against Merlano in January.

The congressman was first arrested in 2006 but was later acquitted by a Bogota court and released. He resigned in the same year to avoid appearing before the Supreme Court.

Merlano waived his right to immunity in order that he may be investigated by prosecutors and not members of Congress.

Six other former members of Congress have been indicted for paramilitary ties this year.

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