Colombia’s ex-president Alvaro Uribe has insisted the former peace commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo, who’s facing charges of embezzlement and fraud, did not fake the demobilization of FARC guerrillas, reported Radio Caracol Monday.
Uribe declared that the case against Luis Carlos Restrepo demonstrates “haste, prejudgement, pressure to justice and neglect of the role of the Head of State that the constitution demands.” He also suggested that the apparent determination of the president’s office to secure a conviction could place pressure on judges.
Restrepo, who served during Alvaro Uribe’s 2002-2010 presidency, is accused of conspiring with imprisoned guerrilla leader “Olivo Saldaña” to stage the demobilization of the non-existent Cacica Gaitana front.
According to the allegations, the plot involved gathering homeless and unemployed people from the central Tolima department and paying them $278 each to live and act like FARC guerrillas, before surrendering to security forces.
Uribe stated that the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, who was Defense Minister at the time of the “demobilization,” coordinated with Restrepo and all actions were based on military intelligence — “the good faith of which must be recognized.”
It is the second time in a week Uribe has proclaimed Restrepo’s innocence — in an open letter published on Twitter Friday, he asked Santos to “do something” about the “political persecution” of his allies, citing the former peace commissioner’s case.
Restrepo is being tried for embezzlement, conspiracy to defraud, trafficking and improper possession of military uniforms.
It was announced on Friday that he could be held liable for all legal costs relating to his case, if convicted.