Colombia’s prosecution has begun investigating alleged witness tampering by allies of former President Alvaro Uribe, newspaper El Tiempo reported Thursday.
The investigation is further complicating the situation of the hard-right former head of state who resigned from the Senate earlier this week after he was called in for interrogation by the Supreme Court.
The former president and his brother Santiago are investigated for allegedly forming death squads in the 1990s.
By resigning, Uribe effectively ended the investigation of the Supreme Court that can only carry out criminal investigations against elected officials.
But now that the Prosecutor General’s Office has also opened an investigation, Uribe could be investigated by the prosecution as soon as the court refers the case.
Within the Uribe family there are fears that the former president is facing an imminent arrest, Uribe’s son Tomas admitted on Twitter.
Uribe’s brother Santiago was arrested in 2016 on charges he also created a far-right death squad that committed hundreds of homicides.
According to El Tiempo, the prosecution investigation is targeting Uribe’s alleged middleman who was caught on tape trying to coerce a key witness to retract claims that Uribe formed the Bloque Metro death squad when he was governor of Antioquia in 1996.
Multiple former paramilitaries and drug traffickers who testified in favor of Uribe will reportedly be investigated on suspicion of perjury.
The investigations have caused a crisis within Uribe’s party, the Democratic Center, which is now without its powerful and authoritarian leader.
The mounting evidence of Uribe’s alleged involvement in witness tampering, massacres, and the assassination of a human rights advocate is also complicating the situation of President-elect Ivan Duque, who has consistently defended his political patron and is widely considered Uribe’s “puppet.”
The two politicians have led the opposition against an ongoing peace process with demobilized Marxist FARC rebels that includes a transitional justice system that has begun investigating the execution of thousands of civilians by the military under the watch of Uribe and, among others, incoming Vice-President Marta Lucia Ramirez.