A Colombian congressman Wednesday filed criminal charges against former President Alvaro Uribe for the former head of state’s alleged role in the formation of a paramilitary group in the 1990s.
The charges were based on testimonies of two ex-paramilitaries who claimed Uribe helped found the Bloque Metro of the AUC paramilitary organization, which he then allegedly ordered to carry out massacres and assassinations during his 2002-2010 tenure.
During a debate on paramilitary activity in Uribe’s home department Antioquia, socialist Representative to the House Ivan Cepeda said the testimonies were supported by evidence. The congressman presented photographs allegedly showing prolonged paramilitary presence at the Uribe brothers’ ranch in northern Colombia, during Uribe’s 1995-1997 term as Governor of Antioquia.
Cepeda also disclosed documents and records showing links between Uribe and his brother Santiago, and Juan Guillermo Villegas Uribe, as well as businessman Santiago Gallon Henao, previously convicted of financing paramilitary groups in Antioquia, who were both named in the congressman’s statement.
Cepeda published a new edition of his book “The Gates of Uberrimo” Tuesday, which outlines allegedly strong links between the ex-president, corrupt politicians and numerous paramilitary groups.
Dozens of Colombian congressmen — mostly allies of Uribe — have been convicted for their ties to the now-demobilized AUC, responsible for tens of thousands of human rights violations, including murder, rape and forced displacement. The infiltration of the paramilitary group into Uribe’s coalition has popularly become known as “parapolitics.”