Ex-Colombian politician imprisoned for buying votes makes jailbreak during dental appointment
She went to get a cleaning, and then made a clean break of her own.
A former politician in Colombia who was jailed for buying votes escaped on Tuesday after she was allowed to go out for a dentist appointment in the capital city of Bogota.
With a prison guard escort, Aida Merlano, 43, went to an orthodontist practice but was then left alone when the doctor suggested the guard wait outside in the waiting room.
"The inmate was taken into the doctor’s office, the doctor suggested that the guard stay outside, and when the situation became apparent the guard found the material items that were used in the escape," said General William Ruiz, the former director of the Colombian National Penitentiary and Prison Institute, to Reuters.
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Video footage from the Colombian National Penitentiary and Prison Institute shows rope hanging down from the building as Merlano climbs down, gets on a waiting motorcycle as she is handed a helmet, and before driving off.
"There is an investigation underway for the mistake that may have occurred regarding the oversight of the mission, of taking her to the doctor’s office and bringing her back to the women’s prison," Ruiz said Wednesday.
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Local media reported that Ruiz was fired from his position after the escape.
A reward of up to $14,000 is being offered for information on Merlano's whereabouts.
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Merlano was sentenced to 15 years in prison last month for buying votes in the 2018 parliamentary election, and for possession of an illegal firearm.
She was due to appear at a hearing Tuesday for a possible reduction of her sentence, according to Sky News.
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An investigation last year into Merlano's campaign after her election found around $13.5 million in cash and firearms at her headquarters. Officials said she used a QR code system to check to see that those she paid actually voted for her, Sky News reported.
Merlano became the first Colombian politician to be jailed for buying votes.