Rocky start in Colombia's congress for ex-rebel wanted in US

Jesus SantrichThe Associated Press
Former FARC rebel Jesus Santrich gives a victory signal to journalists as he attends a session of the Chamber of Representatives at the Colombian congress in Bogota, Colombia, Wednesday, June 12, 2019. Santrich was unable to take up his seat in congress last year when he was jailed awaiting extradition to the U.S. on drug charges, but was released in a decision by the special peace tribunal.(AP Photo/Fernando Vergara)

A former top Colombian rebel leader wanted in the U.S. on drug charges has gotten off to a rocky start as a newly sworn-in lawmaker.

Seuxis Hernández arrived late to a House of Representatives committee meeting Wednesday at which lawmakers were discussing youth employment and other topics.

Minutes later, lawmaker Jennifer Arias announced that she was leaving. On the verge of tears, she described how a member of her family was killed during Colombia's long civil conflict.

The head of the committee also lambasted the former rebel peace negotiator, describing his presence as "a joke."

The meeting was then abruptly adjourned.

Hernandez was sworn into office Tuesday to one of the 10 congressional seats guaranteed to former rebels under the government's peace accord with leftist rebels.