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Former Colombian minister tried for murder

June 28, 2006 at 8:06 PM

BOGOTA, June 28 (UPI) -- A trial in Colombia has begun for a former justice minister accused of orchestrating the death of a presidential candidate in 1989, El Tiempo said Wednesday.

Alberto Santofimio was arrested last year in connection with the death of Luis Carlos Galan, who was killed during an election rally.

The former minister is accused of ordering a hitman associated with notorious drug lord Pablo Escobar to kill Galan.

Santofimio said Tuesday during the trial's opening statements that the charges against him were absurd, and asked that former Colombian leaders including presidents testify on his behalf.

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