You are here

Colombia launches probe after jailed ex-senator's bold escape

[BOGOTA] Colombian officials have ordered a probe following the daring escape in Bogota of an imprisoned ex-senator from a medical centre where she had gone to see a dentist.

Aida Merlano managed to slip away from her escorts, climbed out a window, and slid down a cord, landing heavily on the sidewalk before calmly escaping on the back of a waiting motorcycle.

A video of her bold escape shot by a nearby security camera went viral on social media.

Merlano, a native of the northern city of Barranquilla, was sentenced to 15 years in prison in September for buying votes during the 2018 general election that saw her elected senator for the Conservative Party.

Market voices on:

Justice Minister Margarita Cabello fired the head of the women's prison in Bogota where Merlano had been held and who had authorised the medical visit.

Ms Cabello also asked for the resignation of William Ruiz, the head of Colombia's prison system.

Eight prison staff members have also been suspended pending an investigation.

Mr Ruiz had earlier offered a 50 million pesos (S$19,400) bounty for information leading to Merlano's capture.

Colombia is no stranger to spectacular prison escapes.

The most famous was in 1992, when drug kingpin Pablo Escobar and 12 of his men absconded from La Catedral, a prison that he himself helped build.

However less than 18 months later Escobar was shot dead by police in his home city of Medellin.