Key Witness Murdered in Colombia

News from Colombia | on: Wednesday, 21 May 2008

A demobilised paramilitary who had been testifying to investigators about links between senior politicians and paramilitary death squads and drugs traffickers has been assassinated in the Colombian capital Bogota. Jose Raul Mira Velez, who was supposedly receiving special protection, was shot and killed on May 17th.

Mr Mira Velez, a former bodyguard to a top paramilitary commander, had been due to give further evidence on links between his former boss and members of Congress from the departments of Antioquia, Meta and Casanare. Before being killed he had also spoken about how supposedly 'demobilised' paramilitaries were actually continuing to function an allegation also made by human rights groups.

Up to the time of his death his testimony had led to four senior politicians being revealed to have had links to death squads and drugs traffickers. The remaining investigations that he was involved in may now collapse.

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