Colombia’s prosecutor general on Wednesday warned of an increase in false witnesses “deceiving justice” in court hearings.
Prosecutor General Eduardo Montealegre told Caracol Radio his office detected an increase of false witnesses in several lawsuits, such as the case of former deputy Sigifredo Lopez, who was absolved of charges against him.
“I need to express my concerns about the appearance of false witnesses deceiving justice. We have to look on a national level in which cases they are giving these types of declarations,” the country’s top prosecutor said in response to the Lopez case.
The former Valle del Cauca deputy and former FARC hostage was accused of aiding the FARC in orchestrating his own 2002 kidnapping, along with 11 other deputies, who were killed in captivity five years later.
Lopez was released from house arrest Tuesday after the evidence against him proved false. According to the Prosecutor General’s website at least four witnesses lied in their testimonies.
Montealegre said there was no evidence the prosecution had “acted in bad faith.” However, the prosecutor general called for an investigation to establish whether there is a “cartel” of false witnesses in Colombia providing a vehicle for extortion and to “deceive justice,” according to newspaper El Pais.
“Traditionally testimony has been a very important source of evidence,” said Montealegre, “we must begin to turn towards other more credible sources of evidence or when there is a witness testimony, we must carry out more checks and technical tests to verify accuracy.”