The attorney of former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe sent a 38-page letter to a Washington court asking it not to force the former president to testify in a civil case against coal giant Drummond for alleged ties to death squads.
According to Miami newspaper El Nuevo Herald, attorney Gregory B. Craig claimed in the letter that an obligatory statement by Uribe would harm Washington’s relations with the Colombian government.
“The point is this: the result of the dispute will not only affect President Uribe. If the court orders President Uribe to testify despite Colombia’s request for immunity, the relation between Colombia and the United States and our partnership in the war against drug trafficking and terrorism will be clearly affected,” the Miami newspaper quoted the letter.
Craig’s theory is that the government of Juan Manuel Santos–referred to as Juan Miguel Santos in the letter–will restrain from fighting left-wing guerrilla groups out of fear of facing similar legal action in the U.S.
Uribe was asked to testify in a case filed by victims of paramilitary violence in the region where Drummond was active. The plaintiffs accuse the coal company of ties with the paramilitary organization AUC and want Uribe to testify his knowledge about the situation.
Colombia’s ambassador to Washington, Uribe’s former Defense Minister Gabriel Silva, asked the State Department to grant Uribe diplomatic immunity to prevent him from being ordered to testify.