Posted by Charles Parkinson on Jan 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Govt rejects Uribe’s criticism of ex-peace commissioner’s trial

juan carlos esguerra

The Colombian government has rejected claims by ex-President Alvaro Uribe that the trial of his former peace commissioner has political undertones which might pressure judges for a conviction, reported El Espectador Monday.

Justice Minister Juan Carlos Esguerra said, “On behalf of the prosecution, there is no political persecution, just the fulfillment of duty. The obligation of the prosecutor is to initiate investigations dispassionately and without taking a political position.”

The response came hours after Colombian media reported Uribe’s assertion that the trial of former peace commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo — facing charges over the “false demobilization” scandal — demonstrated “haste, prejudgement, pressure for justice and neglect of the role of the Head of State that the constitution demands.”

Restrepo is being tried for embezzlement, conspiracy to defraud, trafficking and improper possession of military uniforms, connected to a plot which involved gathering homeless and unemployed people from the central Tolima department and paying them $278 each to live and act like FARC guerrillas, before surrendering to security forces.

It was announced on Friday that Restrepo could be held liable for all legal costs relating to his case, if convicted.