Colombia’s former peace commissioner Luis Carlos Restrepo Ramirez, who has been charged with faking a FARC demobilization, claims his family has begun to “receive pressure from members of the justice system, which has forced them to seek international protection,” said former President Alvaro Uribe Thursday.
Through a statement on his Twitter account, Uribe revealed that Restrepo, who served as the high commissioner for peace between 2002 and 2006 and oversaw the demobilization of Colombian armed groups, called him Wednesday night to complain of the pressure his family had been receiving from government officials.
“Dr. Restrepo Ramírez(…) played an exceptionally transparent and effective role in the demobilization of criminals. Indeed, under his leadership, approximately 44,000 members of terrorist groups left these organizations,” Uribe tweeted.
Restrepo fled the country in January days ahead of a scheduled hearing regarding his role in the 2006 demobilization of a non-existent FARC front. The former commissioner allegedly paid homeless men to dress and act like guerrilla soldiers during the demobilization process.
An international arrest warrant was issued for Restrepo on two occasions, although it was revoked in both instances for a lack of evidence. Restrepo, who is thought to be hiding in the United States, refused to come back to his native country without the government’s assurances for his safety.
“Dr. Restrepo expressed to me his grief and outrage that despite the fact that a judge independently made the decision to revoke unjust arrest warrants against him, today he is the subject of judicial persecution and threats that forced him to leave Colombia,” Uribe said.
Uribe, who served as president between 2002 and 2010, also revealed that his former peace commissioner told him that the Lawyer’s Collective, an NGO that promotes human rights, has “become a factor of undue pressure(…) against Dr Restrepo.”