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A lawyer for a former Colombian paramilitary leader is asking a U.S. federal court to force Attorney General William Barr to immediately deport the former warlord to Italy after he completed a long drug sentence.

The emergency petition was filed Monday in Washington, DC federal court on behalf of Salvatore Mancuso, the former top commander of the United Defense Forces of Colombia, known as the AUC. It comes as Colombia is mounting a last-minute campaign to block Mancuso’s removal to Italy after it bungled an extradition request  that had to be withdrawn last month.

Mancuso’s lawyer argues that Barr, Chad Wolf, the acting head of the Department of Homeland Security, and four other senior officials at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement have unlawfully kept Mancuso in federal custody beyond the maximum 90 days allowed for the removal of aliens. Included in the petition is a copy of a final administrative removal order dated April 15 that compels DHS and ICE to remove Mancuso to Italy, where he also has citizenship.

Immigration attorney Hector Mora attributes the delay to strong pressure from Colombia’s conservative government, which he claims is working closely with the U.S. State Department to bring Mancuso back to Colombia. If returned home, he argues his client is likely to be jailed, or even killed, despite having fulfilled his obligations under a 2003 peace deal he negotiated, which caps prison terms at eight years for militia leaders who confess their crimes.

“He and his family are terrified with his possible return to Colombia,” Mora wrote to ICE officials on March 27 ? the same day Mancuso completed a 12-year sentence in the U.S. for cocaine trafficking.

Mancuso, 55, was the most remorseful of the former right-wing militia leaders after demobilizing and his eagerness to discuss the paramilitaries’ war crimes has already shaken Colombia’s politics.

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