Colombia’s prosecution’s attempt to revoke the house arrest of former president Alvaro Uribe may be blocked by the Supreme Court, weekly Semana reported Sunday.
According to the weekly, Supreme Court magistrate Gerson Chaverra advised his colleagues to deny the prosecution’s request to revoke Uribe’s house arrest and start the far-right politician’s fraud and bribery trial from scratch.
The advice is a major setback for Uribe, who resigned from the Senate in August in the hope that waiving his congressional privilege would compel the Supreme Court to transfer his witness tampering trial to a lower court.
The Supreme Court agreed, but the Bogota judge who was put in charge of the case referred the request of controversial prosecutor Gabriel Jaimes to reset the investigation that began in 2018 and release Uribe back to the high court.
The prosecution’s attempts to help Uribe
Jaimes sought to revoke the criminal charges and the decision to place the former president under house arrest by applying the criminal proceedings of Law 906 of 2004 that applies to ordinary crime suspects instead of Law 600 of 2000 that applies to alleged criminals enjoying congressional privileges.
Chevarra advised the plenary chamber of the Supreme Court to allow the Bogota court to proceed using the criminal procedures of Law 906, but argued this does not allow the prosecutor to revoke the criminal charges filed against Uribe or the former president’s house arrest.
Consequently, under the guidelines of Law 906 of 2004, the process must continue, advancing the procedural phases that in accordance with the aforementioned criminal code follow after the formulated criminal charges.
Supreme Court magistrate Gerson Chaverra
Uribe’s alleged victim pushes back
The defense attorney of the victim of Uribe’s alleged criminal practices, opposition Senator Ivan Cepeda, argued that “the procedural harmony of the case must be maintained” by proceeding with the trial using the criminal code used since the court opened an investigation against Uribe in February 2018.
According to Semana, the magistrate advised the Supreme Court to proceed under common criminal proceedings, but bar Jaimes from undoing the Supreme Court’s advances made during the historic investigation.
This would mean that the prosecutor will be unable to discard evidence gathered by the Supreme Court or request Uribe’s release.
The leader of the far-right Democratic Center and patron of President Ivan Duque got himself in a legal fix after filing bogus witness tampering changes against Cepeda in 2014 after the opposition Senator published testimonies of former paramilitaries testifying Uribe and his brother Santiago co-founded a paramilitary death squad in the 1990s’s.
Pride comes before the fall
After investigating these charges, the Supreme Court said that it had evidence indicated that the former president had been bribing witnesses to file fraudulent charges against Cepeda.
Uribe’s alleged ties of the “Bloque Metro” that left approximately 4,000 victims in Medellin and the surrounding Antioquia province collapsed his party’s support in the 2019 local elections and ended the former president’s political career.
Subsequent evidence that Uribe’s party aligned with a drug trafficking organization to rig the 2018 elections to favor Duque further sunk public support and also got the president and the ruling party in legal trouble.