Senator Ivan Cepeda said Tuesday that he will ask the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights (IACHR) to oversee a pending witness-tampering trial against Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe.
During an interview with Radio Caracol, Cepeda said he would request oversight due to an increase in death threats directed at himself and his family in the run-up to the impending court case.
I will call for a rigorous observation of this subject. Because the threats have increased in relation to the false witness case.
Senator Ivan Cepeda
Cepeda, one of Uribe’s fiercest political rivals, authored a book in which he claimed Uribe formed a paramilitary death squad in the mid 1990’s while governor of the Antioquia province.
Following the book, Uribe sued Cepeda, claiming that the left-wing senator engaged in witness tampering, accusing him of using a “cartel of false witnesses” to substantiate claims made in his book.
The Supreme Court, however, absolved Cepeda in February 2018, and opened an investigation against Uribe for the same charges, arguing with regard to his accusations against Cepeda that “it seems it was the other way round”.
The investigation will focus on allegations that, among other people, Uribe’s lawyer Diego Cadena approached a key witness in the trial against Cepeda on behalf of the former president.
Cadena was recorded pressuring the witness, Juan Guillermo Monsalve, into altering his testimony and therefore aiding an appeal against the verdict. The mafia attorney is also accused of having approached Monsalve’s wife.
Uribe has previous when it comes to accusing others of witness tampering. A few years before the Cepeda case, he filed charges against former Supreme Court investigator Ivan Velazquez, who was then investigating his cousin, former Senator Mario Uribe.
The witness he brought forward, a former paramilitary fighter known as “Tasmania”, claimed that Velazquez had tried to bribe him during the investigation.
However, Tasmania eventually withdrew his testimony and Uribe’s cousin was sentenced for using death squads to intimidate voters into electing him.