BOGOTÁ, Colombia — A Colombian prosecutor assigned to research the nation’s largest former insurgent group was arrested and accused of accepting a bribe within the case of a former insurgent commander wished in the US, the authorities stated Friday.
The prosecutor, Carlos J. Bermeo, had been assigned to a particular court docket established to strive circumstances of battle crimes from the five-decade battle between the federal government and rebels, which left a minimum of 220,000 folks lifeless and led to a 2016 peace deal signed with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
However Mr. Bermeo, based on prosecutors, accepted cash to stymie an extradition case involving a former member of the FARC, Jesús Santrich, who was arrested final 12 months on prices that he had continued trafficking medicine after the group laid down its arms and given up its unlawful actions.
The Colombian legal professional normal’s workplace stated it arrested Mr. Bermeo and 4 others at two motels in Bogotá the second they had been about to obtain a fee of $500,000.
The arrest delivered a brand new blow to implementing the contentious peace deal, whose critics embody President Iván Duque.
Mr. Duque campaigned towards the accords earlier than he took the presidency and has been significantly crucial of the particular court docket, which he has stated could be too lenient towards former rebels. The court docket is understood in Colombia by its acronym, JEP, and on Friday the hashtag #JEPAccomplicesOfFARC started trending.
“It appears fairly critical to me, a deplorable case of corruption,” Mr. Duque stated in a information convention on Friday.
The particular court docket issued a press release condemning any crimes that may have been dedicated but in addition distancing itself from the case, saying it had no jurisdiction over Mr. Santrich’s extradition.
But in one other twist, one of many males additionally accused of taking bribes to assist Mr. Santrich was Luis Alberto Gil, an ex-senator with many associates in Mr. Duque’s conservative coalition.
Mr. Santrich, the previous insurgent chief, has lengthy been a supply of resentment in Colombia. A blind guerrilla whose actual title is Zeuxis Hernández, Mr. Santrich had grow to be a well-recognized face in his nation, serving for years as a negotiator for the FARC. He was later granted a congressional seat as a part of the peace deal.
He was arrested final April on prices that he deliberate to export 10 tons of cocaine. America requested his extradition, although it has not launched proof within the case.
The FARC, now a political social gathering that preaches nonviolence, made no rapid touch upon the case. Prior to now, it has stated that Mr. Santrich was framed by these making an attempt to discredit the peace deal.
On the time of Mr. Santrich’s arrest, many in Colombia took it as an indication that members of the FARC had not negotiated in good religion. Including to these issues, many rebels have returned to arms and fashioned alliances with drug trafficking organizations. Different prime leaders have gone lacking because the peace deal, resulting in hypothesis that they’ve joined the dissident factions.