March 9th, 2010
03:56 PM ET

Missing Colombian prisoner raises questions, accusations

This much was certain Tuesday: Former paramilitary leader and crime boss suspect Daniel Alejandro Serna was no longer under house arrest in Medellin, Colombia. Other than that, there was a lot of head-scratching and finger-pointing.

Did the four men dressed as prison guards who took Serna away Sunday night help him escape or did they abduct him because he might be squealing to authorities? Who was responsible for making sure he did not leave his home?

Prison officials say it wasn't their job and they tried to warn against house arrest. Prosecutors say it wasn't their job either, and they asked the national police to keep a tight eye on Serna. All sides blame the others.

Perhaps the best summation of the whole mess came from Medellin Mayor Alonso Salazar. "I don't know what the judges or the prosecutors think or who gave the authority, but there's something that doesn't smell right to me in all of this," Salazar told Caracol  Radio.

Meanwhile, the mystery continued Tuesday: Is the prisoner who goes by the nickname of Kener a free man or a dead man? A $264,000 reward for information leading to his capture might help provide an answer.

The case has even drawn the attention of President Alvaro Uribe, who said Monday he is worried about decisions by judicial officials to allow house arrests and prisoner transfers that make it easier for dangerous high-level< criminals to escape.

"All the aforementioned creates a lack of confidence in the ability by institutions to overcome impunity and gravely affects the tasks by the armed forces and citizens' confidence," Uribe said.

Those comments, he said, were aimed respectfully toward Attorney General Guillermo Mendoza Diago and the president of the Supreme Court, Elsy del Pilar Cuello Calderon.

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