Colombia’s Prosecutor General again under fire over alleged paramilitary links

Colombia’s Prosecutor General has come under fire for allegely advising the now-demobilized paramilitary organization AUC in 2005.

Maria Isabel Rueda, columnist of El Tiempo newspaper, on Sunday accused prosecutor Viviane Morales and her husband Carlos Alonso Lucio of having advised the paramilitary organization based on testimonies of former paramilitary Rene Zorrilla.

”In theory, Lucio would print political dynamics of the AUC-Government negotiations, for its expertise on demobilized M-19 guerrillas. (…) Another added value was his wife Bibian (sic) Morales, constitutional expert,” Zorrilla was quoted as saying by the columnist.

In a response, Morales sent a six-page letter to the director of El Tiempo undermining Zorrilla’s statements. Morales acknowledged that she accompanied her husband to a forum on peace processes in Cali but said that it was a purely academic event in which Colombia’s then-Interior Minister Carlos Holguin, former governor of Valle and current vice-President Angelino Garzon also attended.

Finally, Viviane Morales criticized the columnist Maria Isabel Rueda, for failing to investigate the veracity of the accusation before publishing.

Following Morales’ decision to criminally prosecute former Peace Commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo, who is suspected of having falsified demobilizations of the right-wing AUC and of left-wing guerrillas, the Prosecutor General became the subject of scrutiny of loyalists to former President Alvaro Uribe, who accuse Morales’ husband of paramilitary ties.

According to Uribe, his allies are politically persecuted. The government of Uribe’s successor Juan Manuel Santos has denied this and said prosecutors are just “fulfilling their duties.”

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