Colombia general jailed for 30 years over Galan death

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Former journalist and presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan speaks at a political rally in Colombia in 1982.Image source, AP
Image caption,
Luis Carlos Galan was shot dead at a campaign rally on 18 August 1989

A retired police general has been jailed for 30 years in Colombia for his involvement in the assassination in 1989 of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan.

Gen Miguel Maza Marquez was found guilty of contributing to the murder by reducing security around Mr Galan, days before he was killed.

Gen Maza was the head of Colombia's now defunct spy agency DAS at the time.

Mr Galan was shot dead at a campaign rally in the town of Soacha.

The murder, in front of thousands of people, shocked Colombia.

His death triggered an extensive investigation, which found that he was killed in a plot involving a political rival, and the drug lord, Pablo Escobar.

Escobar's top hit man John Jairo Velasquez, also known as Popeye, was arrested in 1992 and convicted of the killing.

He was released from prison in 2014 after serving 22 years of a 30-year sentence.

Mr Galan and his family had received a number of death threats in the run-up to his murder on 18 August 1989.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Gen Miguel Maza Marquez has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for his role in Mr Galan's assassination

Gen Maza, who replaced Mr Galan's experienced chief of security with someone relatively new to the task, was convicted of conspiracy and "homicide with terrorist ends", the Supreme Court of Justice said in a statement.

Mr Galan, who had vowed to extradite cartel leaders to the US, was considered the leading candidate for Colombia's 1990 election.

He gained popularity through his criticism of the influence of Colombia's drug cartels.