La fiscal del distrito sur de Florida, Ariana Fajardo Orshan, en representación del Departamrnto de Justicia de los Estados Unidos, emitió un extenso comunicado, enunciando las razones por las que las autoridades estadounidenses autorizaron y llevaron a cabo la extradición hacia Colombia del exministro, Andrés Felipe Arias, condenado a más de 17 años de cárcel por el caso de Agro Ingreso Seguro. 

“Trabajamos muy duro para asegurar que el exfuncionario gubernamental de Colombia, Andrés Felipe Arias fuera extraditado a su país de origen para cumplir la sentencia que le fue impuesta por la más alta corte de esa nación”, aseveró la fiscal Fajardo, quien fue la persona que a lo largo de los últimos tres años lideró el proceso contra Arias en los tribunales estadounidenses. 

“La extradición de Andrés Felipe Arias es un testamento del compromiso de que tienen los Estados Unidos para hacer cumplir el tratado de extradición y de nuestra relación de cooperación judicial con Colombia”, se lee en la declaración hecha por la fiscalía de Florida. 

Desde el momento en que fue capturado con fines de extradición, Andrés Felipe Arias, quien alegaba ser un perseguido político, enfocó su defensa en tratar de demostrar la inexistencia del tratado de extradición entre Colombia y los Estados Unidos. Sus abogados, argumentaron que el exministro no debía ser enviado a Colombia, toda vez que, en su momento, la corte suprema de Justicia declaró inconstitucional el tratado de extradición.

Para los Estados Unidos, el alegato de Arias no tenía fuerza ninguna, pues dicho tratado fue suscrito en 1979 y a pesar de que han pasado 40 años desde su firma, Colombia no ha manifestado su voluntad de retirarse del mismo. 

“Si Colombia no denuncia el tratado, en nuestro criterio éste sigue vigente y es aplicable. Nuestra relación de cooperación judicial con Colombia, que viene dándose desde hace muchas décadas y es vigorosa, no va a ponerse en riesgo por un caso particular”, le manifestó un funcionario de una oficina federal a LOS IRREVERENTES.

Este es el comunicado emitido por la fiscal de Florida sobre la extradición de Andrés Felipe Arias a Colombia. 

The United States today extradited Andres Felipe Arias Leiva, who served as Colombia’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development from 2005 to 2009, to face a prison sentence in that country based on a 2014 conviction by the Supreme Court of Colombia for two offenses committed while Arias served in public office.

U.S. Attorney Ariana Fajardo Orshan of the Southern District of Florida and Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Criminal Division made the announcement.

“Assistant U.S. Attorneys for the Southern District of Florida, alongside attorneys for the Department’s Office of International Affairs, have worked hard to ensure that former Colombian government official Andres Arias would be extradited back to his home country to serve a sentence imposed by that nation’s highest court,” said U.S. Attorney Fajardo Orshan.  “We are grateful to the dedication of Assistant U.S. Attorney Robert J. Emery and Associate Director Christopher J. Smith and Trial Attorney Rebecca A. Haciski of the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs of the U.S. Department of Justice for their work in making this possible. Our Office is committed to upholding the rule of law and ensuring that justice is appropriately carried out for all parties.”

“Andres Arias’s extradition is a testament to the United States’ commitment to our extradition treaty obligations and the strength of our law enforcement partnership with Colombia,” said Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski.  “I thank the team from the Office of International Affairs and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida for their tireless, years-long efforts to ensure that Arias serves his prison sentence in Colombia.”

Arias, a citizen of Colombia who entered the United States in 2014 and was residing in Weston, Florida, was convicted on July 16, 2014, by the Criminal Cassation Division of the Supreme Court of Colombia on two offenses, Embezzlement for Third Parties, in violation of Article 397 of the Colombian Criminal Code, and Conclusion of Contract Without Fulfilling Legal Requirements, in violation of Article 410 of the same code.  Arias was present and represented by counsel at his trial in Colombia, and following his conviction, the Colombian court sentenced him to serve 209 months in prison.  As detailed in the 193-page decision issued by the Supreme Court of Colombia, Arias’s criminal conduct related to the diversion of funds within the Colombian government’s Argo Ingreso Seguro program, which he was responsible for implementing during his term as Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, a cabinet-level position in Colombia’s executive branch, from 2005 to 2009.  

The United States acted on a request for Arias’s extradition submitted by the Republic of Colombia, which Arias vigorously contested in both the Southern District of Florida and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.  On Sept. 28, 2017, a U.S. magistrate judge in the Southern District of Florida ruled that Arias could be extradited to Colombia to serve the sentence based on his conviction.  Arias then filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus, which the district court for the Southern District of Florida denied on Oct. 5, 2018.  Arias appealed that decision to the Eleventh Circuit.  Following extensive briefing and argument, the litigation culminated on July 8, 2019, when the court of appeals rejected Arias’s arguments against extradition.  Consistent with the views of the U.S. Department of State and 40 years of extradition practice between the United States and Colombia, the court of appeals affirmed that the extradition treaty between the two countries remains in full force and effect.

Following a thorough review of Arias’s case, the Department of State issued a warrant ordering Arias’s surrender to Colombian authorities.  Today, the U.S. Marshals Service executed that warrant, transported Arias to Colombia, and delivered him to the custody of Colombian authorities.  Arias’s extradition is now complete.

The extradition proceedings and subsequent appellate litigation were handled by Associate Director Christopher J. Smith and Trial Attorney Rebecca A. Haciski of the Criminal Division’s Office of International Affairs, and Assistant U.S. Attorneys Robert J. Emery and Emily M. Smachetti of the Southern District of Florida with the support of myriad attorneys and international affairs specialists in the Office of International Affairs of the Department’s Criminal Division

Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or at http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

@IrreverentesCol

Publicado: julio 12 de 2019