BOGOTA, Colombia — Colombia's inspector general ousted an outspoken opposition senator Monday, barring her from public service for 18 years for allegedly "promoting and collaborating" with Latin America's last remaining rebel army.
Sen. Piedad Cordoba gained international notice by brokering the release of more than a dozen hostages held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.
A flamboyant Afro-Colombian known for her trademark turban, Cordoba has been a polarizing force in domestic politics and is a close ally of Venezuela's leftist president, Hugo Chavez.
Cordoba, 55, has not been charged with any crime.
But Inspector General Alejandro Ordonez is constitutionally empowered to dismiss her — and any other member of Congress — by virtue of his jurisdiction over nearly all public servants save the president and top judges.
Cordoba, who has been in the Senate since 1994 and last year was mentioned as a possible Nobel Peace Prize candidate, did not answer telephone messages left by The Associated Press.