Colombia’s Justice Minister has called on the fugitive ex-Peace Commissioner Juan Carlos Restrepo to return to his country and face trial, reported Colombian website Terra Monday.
Restrepo, who served as peace commissioner during the 2002-2010 presidency of Alvaro Uribe, fled the country January 8 to avoid being charged for his part in the 2006 “false demobilization” scandal.
Rejecting claims that Restrepo will not receive a fair trial, Juan Carlos Esguerra guaranteed “the right to be heard, the right to provide evidence, the right of defence, the opportunity to be heard and the right to appeal.”
The statement came on the same day Uribe publicly suggested Restrepo would not receive a fair trial and that he had written the ex-official a letter of guarantee. Uribe claimed that he did not know Restrepo’s whereabouts.
Restrepo, who oversaw paramilitary and guerrilla demobilizations during his tenure, is alleged to have plotted with imprisoned FARC guerrilla “Olivo Saldaña” and drug trafficker Hugo Rojas Yepez to pay homeless and unemployed people in the central Tolima department $278 each to train, live and act like FARC guerrillas, then surrender to security forces.
In a Sunday interview with Colombia’s Noticias Uno, former guerrilla Filipe Salazar, alias “Biofilo,” claimed Uribe knew about the plot at the time.