Date
19 August 2017
John Jairo Velasquez served three-quarters of his sentence for the killing of a presidential candidate. He was released from jail after the victim's family forgave him. Photo: Internet
John Jairo Velasquez served three-quarters of his sentence for the killing of a presidential candidate. He was released from jail after the victim's family forgave him. Photo: Internet

Colombia frees drug hitman who killed hundreds

A Colombian man who admitted killing hundreds and maiming his victims as a hitman for the late Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar has been released from jail after the family of a victim forgave him, CNN reported Thursday.

John Jairo Velasquez spent 22 years in prison, three quarters of his sentence for the murder of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan in 1989, the only one of his crimes for which he was convicted.

In jailhouse interviews, Velasquez, 52, admitted killing as many as 300 people including police officers, politicians and ordinary citizens during the 1980s reign of terror by the notorious drug kingpin.

He also admitted masterminding bombings and terrorist attacks that left victims mangled.

Valasquez surrendered to the authorities in 1992, telling a reporter at the time “I don’t owe anything to anybody. I haven’t done anything wrong”, according to CNN. 

Velasquez was released from a maximum security prison after Galan’s family forgave him.    

“He was sentenced for my father’s murder,” said Juan Manuel Galan, the victim’s son and a liberal senator. “He gave us the truth and asked for forgiveness. In my case, I forgive him.”

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