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20-YEAR SENTENCE FOR EX-PRESIDENT.

Former President Arnoldo Aleman, who returned from exile imposed by the leftist Sandinistas to rebuild Nicaragua's ruling party, was convicted on corruption charges and sentenced to 20 years' imprisonment and fined US$10 million, reports AP (Dec. 9, 2003). The sentence could put to an end the former president's grip over the ruling Constitutionalist Liberal Party, where Aleman's authority has endured despite charges he illegally diverted some US$100 million in government funds to his party's election campaigns while in the presidential office. Judge Juana Mendez cited the crimes of fraud, misappropriation of public funds, embezzlement, criminal association and electoral violations endangering the state in her sentencing of Aleman, who was president from 1997 to January last year. It is the first time a former president has been convicted in Nicaragua. Aleman, 57, has been diagnosed with diabetes, hypertension and heart problems and is likely to serve his sentence at his ranch 28km south of Managua. The penitentiary system will establish the conditions of his confinement in coordination with police.

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Title Annotation:Former Nicaraguan President Arnoldo Aleman
Publication:Caribbean Update
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:2NICA
Date:Jan 1, 2004
Words:172
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