Colombia high court orders lawmakers arrested for paramilitary links

Colombia high court orders lawmakers arrested for paramilitary links

[JURIST] The Colombian high court ordered the arrest of five congressmen Monday for alleged ties to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) [CDI backgrounder] and authorities have listed an additional 15 current and former congress members and businesspersons as suspected of having ties to the paramilitary group. All of the political representatives are supporters of current Colombian President Alvaro Uribe [official website, in Spanish; BBC profile], and three have already been arrested. Uribe has made it clear that any ties to paramilitary forces will not be tolerated, saying that members of government will be removed from office if it seems they have links to paramilitaries.

In March, a Colombian judge ordered the release of ex-intelligence chief Jorge Noguera [CIP backgrounder] because no formal charges had been made against him. Noguera, who was arrested [JURIST report] earlier that month, is accused of murder and conspiracy for allegedly contracting with illegal paramilitary groups [JURIST report]. BBC News has more.