Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe said Tuesday that he will resign from the Senate over an ongoing criminal investigation that includes murder charges.
According to Uribe, he was called in for interrogation over a series of charges that involve witness tampering, the murder of a human rights defender and three massacres.
“I feel morally impeded to be Senator” as a consequence of his pending court hearings, the controversial former head of state and political patron of President-elect Ivan Duque said on Twitter.
La Corte Suprema me llama a indagatoria, no me oyeron previamente, me siento moralmente impedido para ser senador, enviaré mi carta de renuncia para que mi defensa no interfiera con las tareas del Senado
— Álvaro Uribe Vélez (@AlvaroUribeVel) July 24, 2018
Despite being a former associate of the long-defunct Medellin Cartel, Uribe’s legal problems didn’t become out of hand until earlier this year.
A slander case gone wrong
The former president had accused leftist Senator Ivan Cepeda of witness tampering after publishing witness testimonies in a book over Uribe’s alleged leading role in the formation of a death squad in his home province of Antioquia.
The Supreme Court, however, dismissed the charges and said that it appeared Uribe had been tampering and threatening witnesses.
Multiple witnesses in cases against Uribe have been murdered over the past decade.
When Supreme Court President ordered extra security measures for one of the key witnesses in the case against Uribe, he revealed that the investigation included “conspiracy to commit a crime, homicide and others.”
Evading the court?
According to Senator Gustavo Petro, who has accused Uribe of being a serial criminal for decades, the hard-right former president’s resignation would help him avoid being called before the Supreme Court.
The country’s highest criminal court is in charge of investigations against elected officials. Ordinary civilians, however, ought to be investigated by the Prosecutor General’s Office.
Petro’s claim was confirmed to newspaper El Tiempo by sources inside the court who said that the cases will now be transferred to Colombia’s notoriously corrupt and inefficient prosecution.
Uribe, who is the leader of the hard-right Democratic Center party, has been accused of all kinds of crimes ever since the 1980s when he emerged as a friend and associate of the Ochoa crime family that founded the Medellin Cartel with late drug lord and congressman Pablo Escobar. Until now, however, this has not impeded Uribe’s political career.