BOGOTA, Colombia – A prominent Colombian paramilitary warlord wanted in the U.S. on drug charges has walked from a Colombian jail, becoming the first major paramilitary leader to earn their freedom as part of a decade-old peace deal.
Rodrigo Perez is better known by his alias Julian Bolivar. He and hundreds of right-wing fighters in the once-impenetrable war zone near the Magdalena River surrendered in 2006 in exchange for a government promise of reduced prison sentences.
He was freed Friday after completing the maximum eight years stipulated in the peace framework law for former militia members who confess their war crimes to prosecutors and compensate victims.
Several other paramilitary leaders are in line to be freed but are having their furloughs held up over objections they aren't fully cooperating with the justice system.