Anna Chan:
Colombian president Alvaro Uribe's cousin has been detained by authorities. Mario Uribe was refused asylum by Costa Rica because of an outstanding Colombian arrest warrant. He has suspected ties to paramilitary squads.

Mario Uribe, a longtime senator and cousin of President Uribe is under arrest in Colombia. Testimonies from paramilitary warlords say that he asked them to back his senate campaign and help him secure cheap farmland.

The former senator had earlier sought political asylum at the Costa Rican Embassy in Bogota. The foreign ministry in San Jose rejected his application because of the outstanding arrest warrant. He was later escorted out of the embassy by Colombian authorities.

President Uribe has enforced control over the rebels and negotiated the surrender of illegal paramilitaries.

[Alvaro Uribe, President of Colombia]:
"The arrest warrant for Sen. Mario Uribe hurts me, but it is a pain I will accept with patriotism and without avoiding the fulfillment of my responsibilities."

Paramilitary organizations were originally formed by wealthy land owners to protect their interests.
But their influence soon mushroomed as they massacred peasants and dealt in cocaine in the name of counter-insurgency.

A deal with Uribe's government allowed them short jail terms for promising to confess their crimes and compensate victims.

But rights groups and some U.S. lawmakers worry the former commanders have kept their criminal networks alive.

More than 60 lawmakers are under investigation with half of them in jail because of alleged militia ties.

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