Colombia’s Prosecutor General on Tuesday announced the reopening of a preliminary investigation against former president Alvaro Uribe regarding alleged links to paramilitaries.
Testimonies from two imprisoned ex-paramilitaries given to congressman Ivan Cepeda convinced the Prosecutor General’s Office that a new investigation was warranted.
“This is undoubtedly the most important step in Colombian justice in the terrible case of parapolitics. It is the first time an investigation has been opened in the ordinary courts against former President Uribe for serious crimes – related even to massacres – in Antioquia during his tenure as governor, ” said Cepeda, who tweeted news of the reopened investigation Tuesday morning.
Fiscalia General abre investigación preliminar a @alvarouribevel, a raíz de denuncias que hice por fundar grupo paramilitar en su hacienda
— Iván Cepeda Castro (@IvanCepedaCast) January 8, 2013
According to local media, Pablo Hernan Sierra and Juan Monsalve, demobilized members of the now-defunct paramilitary group, AUC, said Uribe helped found paramilitary groups in Antioquia while he was governor. They also claimed that the “Metro Bloc” of the AUC was formed on one of Uribe’s properties, Hacienda Guacharacas.
Juan Guillermo Monsalve also reportedly accused Uribe of being involved with the paramilitary group that committed a massacre at San Roque, Antioquia.
Cepeda said that at the time of Uribe’s purported involvement there were 50 deaths around Hacienda Guacharacas due to paramilitary activity.
Uribe’s lawyer called the reopening of investigations “excessive,” and has questioned the motives of the paramilitary witnesses, who supposedly received shortened sentences in return for testifying. Uribe’s lawyer went on to say that his client has had no contact with Hacienda Guacharacas since his father’s death.
This is not the first time the divisive ex-president has been accused of involvement with paramilitaries, but the previous case was closed due to a lack of evidence.