Uribe aides might go to jail over fraudulent reelection referendum process
A former congressmen and eight other allies of former President Alvaro Uribe might go to jail while awaiting trial over their alleged role in fraud committed during a failed attempt to have Colombia's former head of state reelected for the third time in 2010.According to newspaper El Espectador, a prosecutor plans to ask a judge to jail the "uribista" commission that carried out the fraudulent reelection project over excessive delays that, according to the prosecution are cause by the defense of former Congressman Luis Guillermo Giraldo and eight others.The proposal to allow the reelection bid of the former President through a referendum had been approved by congress in 2009, but was sunk by the constitutional court that had established fraud in the process leading up to the congressional vote.Congress passed the referendum bill in spite of the country's electoral authorities who had already condemned the process for violating financial regulations and the involvement of a now-convicted drug money launderer.Three years later, the accused fraudsters have not been sentenced or absolved by a judge because of stalling techniques, said the prosecution.By putting the political activists in jail, the prosecution "hopes to achieve that the attorneys of those on trial allow the continuation of the process," prosecutor Isnardo Gomez told the newspaper.Processes to allow Uribe to rule longer than originally allowed by the Colombian constitution have been stained with fraud and corruption; his 2006 reelection had been made possible after the bribing of lawmakers who needed to approve a constitutional amendment. Several of Uribe's former ministers are investigated for their alleged involvement in the bribery.The former President and his allies have come under immense legal pressure since 2006 when the first Uribe-loyal congressmen were arrested for having used death squads to intimidate voters. Since then, dozens of lawmakers and several ministers have been sent to jail for ties to the now-defunct paramilitary organization AUC and other corruption scandals.
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