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Former Colombian Senator Surrenders to Authorities

  • Manuel Rueda

A former Colombian Senator has been arrested by the authorities in Bogota late Tuesday after he was denied political asylum by the Costa Rican government. Manuel Rueda reports Mario Uribe has entered the Costa Rica's embassy to avoid arrest by the government for his alleged link to the right wing militias.

President Alvaro Uribe's cousin, Mario Uribe, is now in the hands of Colombian authorities after Costa Rican government denied his political asylum request.

Uribe, one of powerful politicians in Colombia will now have to answer questions about his alleged links to paramilitary groups,known as the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, or AUC.

He was accused of criminal conspiracy for promoting illegal armed groups, and purchasing lands taken from civilians by the right wing death squads.

Uribe resigned from the senate in October over the scandal. He has repeatedly denied any links to the paramilitaries, but a former paramilitary chief said recently that Uribe had asked him to support his senate campaign in 2002.

Shortly after the arrest order was issued by the court on Tuesday, Uribe quickly entered the Costa Rican embassy in Bogota to seek political asylum. His request was later rejected by the Costa Rica's foreign ministry.

Earlier, human rights activists gathered in front of the Costa Rican embassy demanding Uribe be handed over to the Colombian authorities.

Ivan Cepeda is a human rights lawyer. His father,a left wing senator, was killed by right wing death squads in 1994.

He says that in spite of all the pressures, and interferences, the courts are acting with independence. So protesters also came here to protect the Colombian courts.

The supreme court is investigating many of President Uribe's political allies, including over fifty congressmen who are allegedly linked to paramilitary groups. President Alvaro Uribe himself also denied alleged links with paramilitary groups.