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Colombia extradites ex-paramilitary leaders to face US drug charges

[JURIST] Colombia [JURIST news archive] Tuesday extradited 14 former militia leaders suspected of organizing violent massacres and drug smuggling operations to the United States to face drug trafficking charges. The guerrilla leaders had surrendered to Colombian authorities under a peace deal in which Colombian President Alvaro Uribe [official profile, in Spanish; BBC profile] suspended warrants for their extradition, but Justice Minister Carlos Holguin [official profile, in Spanish] told local radio that the leaders had broken the deal by continuing to organize gangs or by refusing to cooperate with government officials. There is speculation that Uribe, a US ally, had been facing increasing pressure to deal harshly with the militia leaders after some of his political associates had been linked to the groups. Reuters has more.

In April, a Colombian court temporarily blocked [JURIST report] the extradition of one such leader, Carlos Mario Jimenez-Naranjo, ruling that it would deny the victims of his crime the chance to seek compensation. Despite the ruling, Jimenez-Naranjo was extradited [DOJ release] to the US earlier this month, where he could face up to life in prison if convicted.

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