Colombia presidential hopeful Fajardo seek safeguards after ruling against him

FILE PHOTO: Colombian presidential candidate Sergio Fajardo speaks after polls closed in the first round of the presidential election in Bogota, Colombia May 27, 2018. REUTERS/Jaime Saldarriaga

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombian presidential hopeful Sergio Fajardo said on Tuesday he will ensure the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH) issues safeguards to protect his political rights following a ruling against him by the country's comptroller general.

The comptroller general on Friday ruled Fajardo and 25 other individuals were fiscally responsible for problems and delays with the Hidroituango hydroelectric dam in Antioquia province, which is expected to eventually generate 17% of Colombia's energy.

The administrative ruling found Fajardo, a previous governor of Antioquia and mayor of its capital Medellin, and other individuals involved should pay for the $1.07 billion of losses caused by the project's delay. "We will keep our appointment with the CIDH to secure the precautionary measures we requested long ago," Fajardo, 65, said in a statement. "Nothing will prevent us from continuing in the race for the presidency."

A precautionary measure from the CIDH requests that the state protect one or more persons from suffering irreparable harm.

Administrative sanctions do not inhibit the political rights of election candidates or of voters, according to the CIDH.

Some lawyers said the ruling would make Fajardo's electoral run and potential presidency difficult, however.

The CIDH issued a precautionary measure on behalf of Gustavo Petro, a former mayor of Bogota and another 2022 presidential hopeful, after he was sanctioned by the procurator general's office.

Center-left Fajardo came third in the first round of Colombia's 2018 presidential elections, with 4.58 million votes. As well as the sanction from the comptroller general, he also faces an embezzlement case in the Supreme Court of Justice.

(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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