Another Uribe ally arrested for alleged paramilitary ties
A Colombian political leader from President Alvaro Uribe's ruling coalition was arrested Friday for alleged illegal contact with right-wing paramilitaries, the dpa reported.
Senator Carlos Garcia, who leads the National Unity Party, was taken into custody by police in the northern city of Santa Marta on a warrant from the supreme court in Bogota.
"I am completely innocent," he told reporters.
Three former members of the since disbanded United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC) said Garcia met with AUC leaders in 2001.
Garcia is the latest politician to be caught up in a scandal tying conservative politicians to the paramilitaries. In 2006, police found information about the links on former AUC commander Rodrigo Tovar Pupo's computer. Since then, 60 legislators - nearly all members of the ruling coalition - have been charged, more than 30 are currently in jail awaiting trial.
Opposition lawmakers have claimed president had ties to the group during his time as governor of Antioquia province.
The paramilitary groups were founded in the 1980s in response to the leftist rebels, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), and have been implicated in massacres of civilians that supported the rebels. In 2004, the AUC disarmed.