Wed, 23 Oct 2019

Former Colombian Guerrilla Arrested Minutes After Leaving Jail

Voice of America
18 May 2019, 16:07 GMT+10

BOGOTA, COLOMBIA - A former commander of the Marxist FARC rebel group was released from prison Friday and immediately re-arrested after new evidence came to light, the attorney general's office said in a statement.

In a move likely to rattle an already delicate peace accord with the now-demobilized insurgents, Seuxis Paucias Hernandez, known by his war alias as Jesus Santrich, was escorted out of prison in a wheelchair and moments later, as he left prison gates, was taken back inside by police.

Hernandez, 52, was indicted more than a year ago by a U.S. grand jury for conspiracy to export 10 metric tons of cocaine, worth $320 million in street value. He was ordered released Wednesday by a special tribunal.

"As a result of international judicial cooperation, in the last few hours new evidence and elements have been incorporated that clearly account for the circumstances of time, manner and place of alleged conspiracy to conduct drug trafficking," the attorney general said in a statement.

The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), which prosecutes leaders of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas, who handed in their weapons under a 2016 peace deal, had said evidence provided by prosecutors did not allow it to evaluate whether, or when, he allegedly conspired to move cocaine to the United States.

The JEP's ruling caused an institutional crisis when the attorney general immediately resigned in protest.

Because the JEP has jurisdiction over all crimes during the war, Hernandez's extradition can only go ahead if the alleged crime took place after the accord.

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