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Friday, October 5, 2007
By Steven L. Taylor

Via the BBC: Uribe ally quits Colombia Senate

A cousin of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe has resigned from the Senate to avoid a Supreme Court inquiry into whether he had ties to paramilitaries.

Mario Uribe’s resignation comes amid a scandal that has seen dozens of politicians accused of paramilitary links and 14 jailed awaiting trial.

His case now goes from the Supreme Court, which investigates lawmakers, to the regular court system.

Mr Uribe’s lawyer said this would give his client more opportunity to appeal.

This is a legal maneuver to drag out the investigation, as his status as a normal citizen, rather than a Senator, changes the nature of the investigation.

The context:

To date, inquiries have been opened into dozens of lawmakers over their alleged ties to the United Self-defence Forces of Colombia (AUC) paramilitaries in what has been dubbed the “parapolitics” scandal.

The paramilitaries were created by landowners and drug-traffickers to combat left-wing rebels and anyone suspected of being a sympathiser.

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