warlord Salvatore Mancuso

Over fears of deporting of Salvatore Mancuso, Colombia calls on US to extradite the warlord

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Notorious paramilitary warlord Salvatore Mancuso who is jailed in US on drug charges, has been asked to be extradited by Colombia over fears of his deportation to Italy and thus escaping justice for various human rights crimes he led in the nation. Mancuso, 56, was the leader of rightwing paramilitary group that conducted some of the worst violence episodes against civilians during civil war in Colombia.

Salvatore Mancuso was convicted for over 1500 murders and kidnappings and disappearances in Colombia. He had confessed of his role in series of horrendous crimes. In 2008 however he was extradited to the United States where he has served 12 years from his sentence of 15 years on charges related to drug trafficking. On his release in March, his lawyer cited his no-return to Colombia on fear that he would be murdered. He also argued that Mancuso must instead be deported to Italy, of which he holds citizenship.

Authorities in Colombia believe that once he is deported to Italy, it would be almost impossible to make Mancuso hold responsible and put him on trial for his crimes in Colombia, since the two countries do not share any extradition treaty.

Columbia’s President Ivan Duque tweeted on Thursday, “Salvatore Mancuso has serious outstanding debts with Colombian justice and for that I reason I have requested his extradition. His crimes will not continue to be met with impunity.”

Mancuso is the highest ranking former commander who is still alive, of United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia. He is son of an Italian immigrant from Colombia’s north-west region and is said to be highly educated. He had signed off and facilitated many atrocious crimes at the time three-way conflict was ongoing between leftwing rebels and state forces, with frequently colluding with paramilitaries. The conflict between State of Colombia and left rebel groups which includes Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, also called Farc, led to death of over 260,000 civilians and displacement of over 7 million.

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