Colombia’s Supreme Court on Friday ordered former President Alvaro Uribe to appear on October 8 to respond to criminal charges he tried to tamper witnesses who claim he formed a death squad in the 1990s.
This makes Uribe the first former president in Colombia’s history to appear in court to respond to criminal charges. The investigation could trigger further criminal charges over Uribe’s alleged role in crimes against humanity.
The hearing also makes Uribe the first former president who could go to jail if the court deems this appropriate considering the charges.
The court announced the criminal investigation in February last year after Uribe had sued a political opponent on witness tampering charges, but the court found evidence that Uribe and his allies were tampering witnesses.
The political patron of President Ivan Duque is implicated in at least two dozen criminal investigations, including two massacres and the assassinations of three human rights defenders.
Multiple witnesses who have testified about Uribe’s alleged role in the formation of the far-right paramilitary death squad “Bloque Metro” have been assassinated or died under suspicious circumstances.
Uribe’s defense attorney, Jaime Granados, told press that, contrary to the court’s claims, there exists no evidence that would prove Uribe’s involvement in witness tampering and “everything will be clarified that day.”
I think everyone knows what his spirit, he doesn’t fear anyone but God.
Defense attorney Jaime Granados
There is no way everything will be clarified on October 8, unless more evidence that sustains the witness tampering claims disappears or is manipulated, or also the last witnesses are assassinated.
In fact, no president in the history of Colombia has ever been in so much trouble with the law as Uribe, who rose to prominence under the wings of the Medellin Cartel in the 1980s.