Colombia’s Supreme Court placed former President Alvaro Uribe under house arrest on Tuesday after filing fraud and bribery charges in a historic decision.
Uribe, one of Colombia’s most powerful politicians of the past decades, announced his arrest on Twitter after the court called him to personally inform him of the historic arrest warrant against him, according to newspaper El Espectador.
The deprivation of my freedom makes me feel profoundly sad for my wife, for my family and for the Colombians who still believe that I have done something good for the country.
Former President Alvaro Uribe
The Supreme Court confirmed the unanimous decision to place the former Medellin Cartel associate and the leader of the ruling Democratic Center party under house arrest until the end of his witness tampering trial.
In a televised speech, Duque said his political patron was “a genuine patriot” who was “dedicated to Colombia.”
“Finally,” Colombians responded on Twitter more than two years after the court opened its investigation and more than 30 years after the first evidence of Uribe’s ties to the Medellin Cartel emerged.
Opposition Senator Ivan Cepeda, the victim of Uribe’s alleged fraud and bribery practices, celebrated the decision.
There are no persons above justice and the law, no matter how powerful and influential they may be.
Senator Ivan Cepeda
Uribe filed criminal charges against Cepeda in 2014 after the opposition senator revealed witness testimonies confirming the former president and his brother were involved in the formation of paramilitary groups on their family estate.
While investigating Uribe’s claims that Cepeda was using false witnesses, the court said in February 2018 it found evidence of the opposite, after which the former president found himself in court.
The president’s defense strategy apparently was to bribe more witnesses to sustain his false claim, which became evident in September last year when the first witness flipped and admitted to bribery.
The trial was hampered by the assassination of a witness, attempts to spy on the magistrate investigating Uribe and attempts by prominent allies to pressure the court into giving the far-right politician a pass.