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Former Costa Rican president sentenced

  • Story Highlights
  • Calderon had previously stated his intention to run for the presidency next year
  • Judge hands him a five-year sentence; prosecutors had sought a 24-year sentence
  • Eliseo Vargas, head of social security under Calderon, also sentence to five years
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SAN JOSE, Costa Rica (CNN) -- Former Costa Rican President Rafael Calderon was sentenced to five years in prison after being convicted of corruption during his term.

Former Costa Rican President Rafael Calderon, right, listens to his sentence on Monday in a San Jose court.

Former Costa Rican President Rafael Calderon, right, listens to his sentence on Monday in a San Jose court.

It was the first time in Costa Rica's history that a former president had been tried for corruption.

Calderon had previously stated his intention to run for the presidency again in 2010.

Calderon, who was president from 1990 to 1994, was accused of embezzling government funds from the state's social security system.

The former president fidgeted and darted his eyes back and forth, as Judge Alejandro Lopez McAdam read the five-year sentence on Monday after the conviction was handed down. Prosecutors had asked for a 24-year sentence.

Seven other people also were sentenced to prison terms for taking kickbacks from millions of dollars of purchases made through the state's social security system.

Eliseo Vargas, the head of the social security program during Calderon's term, also was sentenced to five years in prison.

Calderon will not be imprisoned immediately, pending the outcome of an appeal.

CNN's Djenane Villanueva contributed to this report.

All About Costa RicaSan Jose (Costa Rica)

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