Red justice goes after one of its own

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The only available picture of Judge Ali Paredes.

Anyone remember the case of “businessman”/druglord Walid Makled?

This week, he was finally sentenced to 14 years and 6 months in prison for drug trafficking and money laundering, but he was also absolved of other charges. The General Prosecutor Luisa Ortega Diaz isn’t happy with the decision, and announced that the Public Ministry will appeal it ASAP.

Shortly after the decision was made public, the Judge in charge of the case, Alí Paredes was detained by SEBIN agents. His secretary was also detained. Paredes will be charged with “favorecimento de procesados” (loosely translated as aiding the accused) in the next few days.

But in case you’re wondering if Mr. Paredes was your average judge and was assigned this case by happenstance, the clear answer is no. Before the Makled case, he was in charge of another high profile trial, the one involving fellow judge Maria Lourdes Afiuni. Matter of fact, he gave her two extra years of house arrest as his farewell before he was “rotated”.

What were the reasons behind this swift action? It’s too early to tell, but given the central government’s judicial record, it’s pretty obvious that they don’t like to lose. And in the few occasions when they actually do, they make sure it doesn’t happen more often.