Colombia: ex-senator sentenced in Uribe bribery scheme

Former Colombian Senator Teodolindo Avendaño was sentenced to eight years house arrest June 3 for not voting on the 2006 re-election of President Alvaro Uribe in exchange for favors. Avendaño, theretofore a vociferous opponent of the constitutional change, disappeared on the day of the vote that would allow the 2006 re-election of Uribe. According to the prosecution, the senator received 200 million pesos (US$97 thousand) for his failure to show up for the vote.

A second senator, Yidis Medina, was earlier sentenced to house arrest for having voted in favor of the proposal in exchange for political favors by the government officials. Congressman Ivan Díaz (Conservative Party), accused of being one of the constitutional change advocates who bribed the two, received six years in prison. Current Social Welfare Minister Diego Palacio and Sabas Pretelt de la Vega, ambassador to Rome, are also suspected of being part of the scheme. (Colombia Reports, June 3)

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