[QODLink]
Americas

Colombian drug hitman 'Popeye' released

John Jairo Vasquez, trusted lieutenant of drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, freed after serving 22 years of 30-year sentence.

Last updated: 28 Aug 2014 03:29
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

One of Colombia’s most notorious hired killers, John Jairo Velasquez, has been released from prison after serving 22 years of his 30-year sentence for murder, police and judicial sources have said.

Velasquez, better known by his nickname "Popeye," was paroled on Tuesday evening after helping prosecutors convict a former justice minister.

He was the hitman and one of the most-trusted lieutenants  of the Colombian drug kingpin, Pablo Escobar, and had boasted of killing 300 people and organising the killings of 3,000 others.

Relatives of his many alleged victims protested in front of the Combita high-security prison in central Colombia from where he was released.

Velasquez was convicted for the murder of presidential hopeful Luis Carlos Galan in 1989, who took a hard line against the country's powerful drug cartels and was the favourite to win the election.

The assassination was carried out by gunmen loyal to Escobar, the founder of the Medellin cartel.

Now aged 52, Velasquez has confessed in numerous media interviews to crimes ranging from kidnapping former president Andres Pastrana to murdering his own girlfriend, all on his late boss' orders.

He was granted "conditional release ... for a trial period of 52 months and 22.7 days," said a judicial order seen by the AFP news agency.

206

Source:
Agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Muslim volunteers face questioning and threat of arrest, while aid has been disrupted or blocked, charities say.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
ISIL combatants seeking an 'exit strategy' from Mideast conflict need positive reinforcement back home, analysts say.
European nation hit by a wave of Islamophobia as many young fighters join ISIL in Syria and Iraq.
Featured
Lacking cohesive local ground forces to attack in tandem, coalition air strikes will have limited effect, experts say.
Hindu right-wing groups run campaign against what they say is Muslim conspiracy to convert Hindu girls into Islam.
Six months on, outrage and sorrow over the mass schoolgirl abduction has disappeared - except for families in Nigeria.
Muslim caretakers maintain three synagogues in eastern Indian city, which was once home to a thriving Jewish community.
Amid fresh ISIL gains, officials in Anbar province have urged the Iraqi government to request foreign ground troops.