Dramatic escape by jailed Colombian politician caught on video

Investigation launched after Aida Merlano climbs out of window and escapes from custody during dentist appointment.

    Video of Merlano's escape was shot by a nearby security camera [Twitter]
    Video of Merlano's escape was shot by a nearby security camera [Twitter]

    Colombian officials have ordered an investigation following the daring escape in Bogota of an imprisoned former senator from a medical centre where she had gone to see a dentist.

    Aida Merlano, 43, had been escorted by a prison guard to her appointment on Tuesday. 

    But once the guard was out of the room, she opened the window, climbed out and used a rope to shimmy down to the street below.

    She landed heavily on the pavement before calmly escaping on the back of a waiting motorcycle, which quickly sped off. 

    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.

    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.

    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.

    Ruiz had earlier offered a 50 million-peso ($14,000) reward 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.

    SOURCE: AFP news agency