Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Montesinos' Web is Back in Court

In what seems like a blast from the past, one-time Peruvian svengali Vladimiro Montesinos and 57 others are on trial in Colombia for smuggling arms from Jordan to the FARC guerrillas in 1999.

The 57-year-old Montesinos is not likely to make an appearance at the trial, since he's already serving a 20-year sentence in Peru for the same scheme, which involved a sale of 10,000 assault rifles to the FARC guerrillas. Montesinos, also faces dozens of other charges in Peru, including for drug running and murder.

But the really extraordinary thing about this arms trafficking scheme was its complexity. On trial in -- besides Montesinos are a Spaniard, a Frenchman, a Lebanese, 14 Peruvians and 15 Russians, as well as 24 FARC leaders - some of whom are involved in the peace negotiations with the government, according to media reports. Montesinos, who was Peruvian strongman Alberto Fujimori's right-hand man, denies that he can be tried in Colombia because he's already been convicted in Peru for the same crimes.

Montesinos, incidentally, was for many years on the CIA's payroll.

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours

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