Colombia charges ex-president Uribe with witness tampering

Colombia charges ex-president Uribe with witness tampering
Colombia charges ex-president Uribe with witness tampering

Hello and welcome to the details of Colombia charges ex-president Uribe with witness tampering and now with the details

Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - Colombia's prosecutor's office said on April 9, 2024, it would try former president Alvaro Uribe (pic) for alleged witness tampering in an investigation into his links to paramilitary groups. — AFP pic

BOGOTÁ, April 10 — Colombia’s prosecutors announced yesterday they would try influential ex-president Alvaro Uribe for alleged witness tampering in what will be the first trial of a former head of state in the country’s history.

Uribe, who was president between 2002 and 2010, is accused of interfering with witnesses during an investigation into his potential links with right-wing paramilitary groups.

In a statement, the prosecutor’s office said an indictment had been filed against Uribe, 71, for “the crimes of bribery of witnesses and procedural fraud,” without specifying when his trial would begin.

The charges against him are punishable by up to eight years of imprisonment.


The investigation dates to 2012, when Uribe, then a senator, filed a complaint against leftist senator Ivan Cepeda, whom he accused of hatching a plot to falsely link him to right-wing paramilitary groups involved in the country’s long-standing, myriad armed conflicts.

But the Supreme Court decided against investigating Cepeda, instead turning its sights on Uribe, accusing him of tampering with witnesses to discredit his opponent.

He has always maintained his innocence, and argues he only contacted witnesses — jailed paramilitaries — to get them to tell the truth about his involvement with the brutal far-right squads that formed to combat leftist guerrilla groups but became involved in drug trafficking and atrocities.


The conservative politician was placed under house arrest in 2020, but released two months later as the investigation continued.

The prosecution said it had received “new elements of evidence” such as a statement from jailed former militia fighter Juan Guillermo Monsalve, who claims to have received messages sent from Uribe asking for him to change his testimony.

New attorney general

The indictment comes after a court in October rejected the latest request by the attorney general’s office to close the investigation in a highly politicized case that has seen a series of complex twists and turns.

But a new attorney general, Luz Camargo, took over in March.

She was chosen from a shortlist proposed by leftist President Gustavo Petro, historically a foe of Uribe.

While president, Uribe was known for his tough stance on fighting the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas.

He also strongly opposed the historic 2016 peace accord with the FARC that saw the Marxist rebels disarm.

Petro was once part of a smaller urban guerrilla group.

Uribe remains a prominent voice on Colombia’s right, which ceded power to Petro in 2022 elections.

Petro has sought to end six decades of conflict between the country’s security forces, guerrillas, paramilitaries and drug gangs as part of his “total peace” plan.

The senator Cepeda expressed his “satisfaction” with the case moving to trial, in comments to state broadcaster RTVC.

Paloma Valencia, a senator with Uribe’s Democratic Centre party said the former president “is innocent, the only thing he did was to try to defend himself from the search for falsified testimonies against him.”

Diego Cadena, one of the former president’s lawyers in the case, is also facing trial for allegedly offering money to a former paramilitary to make him retract his testimony against Uribe.

Other investigations -

Uribe is being investigated in several other cases.

In November last year he testified before prosecutors in a preliminary probe into a 1997 paramilitary massacre under his watch as governor of the Antioquia department.

That investigation stemmed from the testimony of a former paramilitary leader, Salvatore Mancuso, who said Uribe “always knew about the operation.”

A complaint has also been filed against him in Argentina, where universal jurisdiction allows for the prosecution of crimes committed anywhere in the world.

The complaint stems from Uribe’s alleged involvement in the more than 6,000 executions and forced disappearances of civilians by the military during his government’s crackdown on guerrillas between 2002 and 2008.

Argentina’s courts have yet to rule on the case, which victims’ relatives filed in the country in hopes of a “serious and impartial investigation”, which their lawyer said they had not been granted at home. — AFP

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