[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Thursday, 11 October 2007, 22:16 GMT 23:16 UK
Colombia ex-justice chief jailed
Murdered Colombian presidential contender Luis Carlos Galan (Bank of the Colombian Republic)
Luis Carlos Galan had been tipped to win the 1990 election
A Colombian court has convicted a former justice minister for his role in the assassination of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan in 1989.

Alberto Santofimio was sentenced to 24 years in prison for ordering a hit squad belonging to late drug baron Pablo Escobar to kill Mr Galan.

Santofimio was also standing for election and was an associate of Escobar, who was facing US extradition.

His trial was one of the most watched in Colombia in decades.

It involved the testimony of three former presidents and a former television diva who was Escobar's lover, as well as the head of Escobar's assassins, John Jairo Velasquez.

Alberto Santofimio (centre) is taken into custody in 1995
Santofimio (centre) was arrested for taking drug money in 1995

Juan Manuel Galan, son of the dead man, told the Associated Press news agency that the verdict had reaffirmed people's belief in the justice system.

Mr Galan, who was the Liberal Party candidate, had campaigned against corruption and drug-trafficking.

After his assassination on 18 August 1989, he was replaced by his campaign manager, Cesar Gaviria, who went on to win the election.

President responds

Elsewhere, the current Colombian President, Alvaro Uribe, demanded a full investigation into allegations made against him by a right-wing paramilitary leader, who accused him of having ordered the killing of another paramilitary chief.

Mr Uribe said he would welcome an investigation as it would prove his innocence.

The allegations stem from testimony the jailed paramilitary leader, Jose Moncada, gave to government prosecutors in which he linked Mr Uribe to the crime.

Mr Uribe has come under criticism from Colombia's Supreme Court for having accused a lower magistrate of the court of having bribed Mr Moncada into making the accusation.

Ex-minister on trial in Colombia
28 Jun 06 |  Americas
Country profile: Colombia
11 Mar 05 |  Country profiles
Timeline: Colombia
16 Feb 05 |  Country profiles

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific