Colombia’s former Interior and Justice Minister Sabas Pretelt de la Vega has admitted that he met with paramilitary leaders but insisted this was appropriate while serving in his role as minister, he told W Radio Thursday.
The former minister is due to testify before the prosecutor general’s office where he will defend himself against allegations that he sought the support of paramilitaries for 2004’s constitutional change that allowed former President Alvaro Uribe to run for a second term in 2006.
The accusations stem primarily from the accounts of demobilized paramilitaries, in which a supposed meeting at a holiday home named “La Chava” has become a focal point of the investigation.
Pretelt de la Vega has stressed his innocence, however, stating that any meetings with paramilitaries during his tenure as minister were solely to discuss demobilization and the return of hostages.
“We never touched the issue of re-election,” he said, “If I had a meeting as a minister it was in order to demobilize them, I am not a moron and it seems to me an absurd accusation. I hope we will clarify it.”
The politician, who most recently served as Colombian ambassador to several European countries, claimed not to know of any alleged meeting at “La Chava” and made a plea to the media “not to give the handle to criminals who accuse the good people.”