Senator charged with kidnapping and fraud

News from Colombia | on: Wednesday, 22 August 2007

Colombian Senator Alvaro Araujo has become the latest politician to be charged in Colombia's ongoing 'Para-Political Scandal'. A close ally of President Uribe, the Senator had been accused of working with paramilitaries to fix elections and to kidnap an opponent.

On August 22nd Araujo was charged on both counts and he is currently in prison in Bogotá along with various colleagues from Congress facing similar charges.

The Scandal began late last year after the laptop computer of a paramilitary commander known as 'Jorge 40' was found. It contained records of at least 30 members of Congress who were working with the paramilitaries – all but one of whom are believed to be supporters of President Uribe.

In another development a 'death list' of trade unionists to be assassinated was allegedly passed to the paramilitaries by the head of the presidential intelligence service, Jorge Noguera. President Uribe was widely criticised for rapidly appointing Noguera as Colombian Consul in Milan, Italy, when the list was discovered. Critics asked why the President helped him leave the country rather than ordering his arrest or investigation. However, he was arrested on his return from Europe and an investigation is ongoing.

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