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Colombia court halts extradition of paramilitary chief to US

[JURIST] A Colombian court Friday temporarily blocked extradition to the US of narcotics trafficker and former paramilitary chief Carlos Mario Jimenez Naranjo, also known as "Macaco," staying extradition approval granted last week by President Alvaro Uribe that had followed the Colombian Supreme Court's ruling permitting extradition [Xinhua reports]. Jimenez, who was indicted in the US District Court for the District of Columbia in 2005 and in the Southern District of Florida in 2007, is wanted by the US on charges of federal drug trafficking, money laundering, and financing terrorist groups. The Colombian court on Friday halted the government's extradition approval after victims of paramilitaries appealed, saying permitting him to leave Colombia would impede their abilities to seek compensation for his role in paramilitary operations. While most paramilitaries who have made peace deals with the Colombian government in exchange for a reduced sentence are immune from extradition, Jimenez was stripped of such protection [BBC report] last year after the government discovered he was engaged in drug trafficking and paramilitary activities in jail, breaking his peace deal.

In February, the US Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) [official website] designated Jimenez [press release] a "Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker" pursuant to Executive Order 12978 [PDF text], which was issued by President Clinton in October 1995 and applies financial sanctions against Colombian narcotics traffickers. The designation freezes any property located in any US jurisdiction and forbids business transactions between American citizens and the designated companies and individuals. If extradited, Jimenez would be the highest ranking Colombian paramilitary sent to the US to stand trial. AP has more.

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