Colombia court grants conditional release to former paramilitary leader News
Institute for National Strategic Studies (INSS.), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Colombia court grants conditional release to former paramilitary leader

Colombia’s Justice and Peace Tribunal of Bogota, led by Magistrate Jose Manuel Parra, released former paramilitary commander Salvatore Mancuso on Saturday by replacing 57 security measures that had previously kept him in custody.

Document of Freedom No. 3, issued by the Superior Court of Bogota, detailed the terms of his release, stating that Mancuso was granted a non-custodial alternative in the form of a commitment agreement, effectively ending his detainment under pretrial detention security measures within the jurisdiction.

Salvatore Mancuso, known as an ex-paramilitary chief, former drug trafficker, and former commander of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), experienced a complex legal journey. He was extradited to the United States in 2008 and spent years incarcerated until 2020. Later, he was transferred to an immigration detention center in Georgia, where he remained in custody until February 2024, when he was deported to Colombia.

According to Juan Carlos Villamizar, Salvatore Mancuso’s advisor, this replacement of security measures was initiated following an order issued by the Constitutional Court. The order stemmed from a tutelage petition filed by Mancuso’s defense team, arguing that he had exceeded reasonable time limits in certain proceedings where he had not been charged. Additionally, they claimed that he was entitled to rights under the justice and peace regime for constitutional freedom. The Court ruled in favor of Mancuso, instructing the Justice and Peace Tribunal to enforce these measures.