Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Cousin of Colombia's president surrenders to police

BOGOTA, Colombia: A close political ally of Colombian President Alvaro Uribe wanted for allegedly backing illegal militias surrendered to police Tuesday night after Costa Rica denied him political asylum.

Colombia's chief prosecutor had ordered the arrest of former Sen. Mario Uribe, President Uribe's second cousin, earlier Tuesday on charges of criminal conspiracy for "agreements to promote illegal armed groups." The former senator had immediately entered the Costa Rican embassy in Bogota to seek asylum but was denied.

Amid protesters' shouts of "murderer," Mario Uribe left the small, one-story embassy and departed in a black SUV escorted by four motorcycle police, who cut a path through reporters and some 50 protesters, the chief prosecutor's office said.


Mario Uribe, 58, who resigned from the Senate in October when he came under formal investigation began, is one of the most powerful officials to be enmeshed in the scandal.
He has long been close to President Uribe, and in 1985 the two founded a political party together.


More than 30 current or former members of the 266-member Congress, the vast majority allies of the president, have been arrested for allegedly backing and benefiting from the right-wing paramilitaries. Several dozen more are under investigation. Among those in jail is Uribe's former chief of domestic intelligence, Jorge Noguera, who allegedly gave the paramilitaries a "hit list" of labor and opposition leaders..........

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