Colombia’s Supreme Court ruled that a lower court may decide to revoke former President Alvaro Uribe’s house arrest and start the fraud and bribery trial from scratch.
Two and a half years after the Supreme Court began investigating the far-right politician for allegedly tampering witnesses, the court upheld Uribe’s house arrest but allowed a Bogota court to revoke this.
The Supreme Court also said that Uribe’s resignation from the Senate made it was “unviable” to continue the prosecution of Uribe following the criminal proceedings for “privileged” suspects.
This could be good news for Uribe because it allows the prosecution to discard evidence gathered by the Supreme Court of Uribe’s alleged involvement in the bribery of witnesses to file fraudulent criminal charges against opposition Senator Ivan Cepeda.
Uribe resigned from the Senate in August after the Supreme Court placed him under house arrest, indicating the high court believed to have enough evidence for a conviction.
Unlike at the high court, the former president has significant influence over Prosecutor General Francisco Barbosa, who appointed questionable prosecutor Gabriel Jaimes to prosecute the political patron of President Ivan Duque.
Jaimes has indicated he wants to start the trial from scratch, which would nullify the criminal charges, but this decision lies with the Bogota judge deciding on the proceedings.
Cepeda, whose attorney had asked not to change criminal proceedings, said he respected the court decision and “was ready for a new debate” over the former president’s alleged guilt in filing false charges against the leftist senator.
In a parallel case, Uribe’s former fixer is also being prosecuted for his role in the alleged bribing of witnesses who testified against Cepeda after the former president filed the bogus criminal charges in 2014.
Uribe falsely accused the senator of using false witnesses after the release of the testimonies of former paramilitary fighters who claimed the former president and his brother, Santiago Uribe, formed a death squad in the late 1990’s.