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U.S. immigration bars entry of scandal-tainted Colombian senator

U.S. immigration bars entry of scandal-tainted Colombian senator

The United States has canceled the visa of a Colombian senator being investigated for links to right-wing paramilitary militias, Colombian authorities said Tuesday.
Sen. Dieb Maloof, a supporter of President Alvaro Uribe, traveled Friday with his family to Miami and was interrogated on arrival by U.S. immigration officials.
"I wasn't deported," Maloof told RCN television on Tuesday. "I myself made the decision to return and avoid any problems."
A spokesman for the DAS intelligence agency who was not authorized to speak on the record confirmed that Maloof was barred entry and had his visa revoked. The U.S. Embassy in Bogota would not comment on individual visa cases.
Maloof is one of a dozen lawmakers _ almost all of them Uribe loyalists _ being investigated by the Supreme Court for allegedly financing, arming or plotting murders with the death squads.
Already three sitting congressmen have been arrested as part of the "para-politics" scandal, which has deeply shaken the pro-U.S. Uribe government.
Maloof, who testified before the high court on Dec. 12, has long been suspected of links to the paramilitaries who dominate the Caribbean coastal region where he hails from.
He was one of a handful of candidates ousted earlier this year from the "U Party," Uribe's main legislative bloc in Congress, for allegedly accepting money from the militias. He then jumped to the fledgling Colombia Viva Movement and won re-election in March.
Uribe has denied having any inappropriate contacts with the paramilitaries and has disavowed the actions of legislators and government officials under investigation, including the former head of his intelligence agency.
Some 31,000 paramilitary fighters belonging to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia have laid down their weapons as part of 2003 peace deal with Uribe.
But its leaders have so far refused to confess to their roles in some of the worst atrocities in Colombia's history as demanded by the government in exchange for reduced sentences of up to eight years and protection from extradition to the United States on drug-trafficking charges.


Updated : 2021-04-19 20:38 GMT+08:00