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Montevideo, May 24th 2024 - 19:46 UTC



Uribe to become first former Colombian president under trial

Wednesday, April 10th 2024 - 10:55 UTC
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Uribe is believed to have started a process which backfired Uribe is believed to have started a process which backfired

Former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez will become the first former head of state of the South American country to be brought before the courts, the prosecution announced Tuesday in Bogota. The date for the start of the trial has not yet been set. Uribe faces bribery and procedural fraud charges.

“Based on the physical evidence and the material evidence collected and studied by the office to which this case was assigned three months ago, a prosecutor delegated to the Supreme Court of Justice filed an indictment against former senator Álvaro Uribe Vélez, as the alleged perpetrator of the crimes of bribery of witnesses in criminal proceedings and procedural fraud,” Colombia's Attorney General's Office said in a statement.

The defendant and his legal team “will have the opportunity to participate in the oral debate with the practice and incorporation of evidence and allegations that should culminate with the issuance of a ruling,” the document went on.

Under the leadership of newly-appointed Attorney General Luz Adriana Camargo, the prosecution decided to move forward with the case after her predecessor, Francisco Barbosa sought to have it dismissed twice on technicalities, which was not granted by the courts.

The case dates back to 2012, when Uribe, then a senator, filed a lawsuit against his fellow senator Iván Cepeda Castro, who in a parliamentary debate presented testimonies of former paramilitaries that linked the former president to the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, the ultra-right-wing paramilitary groups behind human rights violations in their clandestine war against leftist guerrillas.

This resulted in the Supreme Court of Justice refraining from opening an investigation against Cepeda and, instead, launching a probe against Uribe for bribery and procedural fraud, while Cepeda was considered a victim.

The process continued until August 2020, when Uribe resigned his seat in the Senate and lost his parliamentary immunity, leading to a change in jurisdiction. Between then and 2023, the Prosecutor's Office tried to have the case shelved, but last November, the Bogota Superior Court ruled that the case against Uribe should go forward.

Uribe, 71, has always maintained his innocence. He faces up to eight years in prison for a process he set in motion but seems to have backfired.

”It is more than a decade, practically 12 years, of fighting in front of the courts (...) after so many attempts to close this case, in the end, the voice of justice appears,“ Senator Cepedaa said in a TV interview.

According to local media, Uribe had foreseen since October last year that the case against him would go the way it was announced Tuesday.

”President Uribe is innocent, the only thing he did was to seek to defend himself from the search of rigged testimonies against him”, said Senator Paloma Valencia from Uribe's right-wing Centro Democrático party on Tuesday

Former Uribe lawyer Diego Cadena is also facing trial for allegedly offering money to a former paramilitary to recant his testimony.

Categories: Politics, Latin America.

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