The former Colombian politician accused of arranging his own kidnapping along with that of 11 of his colleagues, claimed that evidence against him was “manipulated” to prove his guilt, according to a report from W Radio.
Sigifredo Lopez served as deputy of the department of Valle del Cauca when he and 11 other politicians were kidnapped by the FARC from an assembly building in 2002. Lopez, who was released by the FARC in 2009, was the sole survivor of the group who were killed in captivity in 2007.
The main piece of evidence against the former deputy is a video that allegedly shows him instructing FARC members how to carry out the kidnappings. Lopez alleged that the footage, which he had analyzed by a private forensic laboratory, “was manipulated” by the National Police before it was handed over to the Prosecutor General’s Office. The tape was sent to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for analysis which has yet to be concluded.
Demobilized guerrillas came out earlier this week to accuse Lopez of ties with the FARC. He called the reports false. “Never, in ten years, have [guerrillas] said anything to authorities. What they’re saying is nonsense,” he said.
Demobilized guerrilla Reinaldo Valencia, alias “El Cabezon,” testified before prosecutors in May that Lopez had no involvement in the 2002 kidnappings, although he had made previous statements implicating the former politician in the crime.
The prosecution has until June 20 to finish gathering evidence, before proceeding with the trial against Lopez, who was transferred from Bogota to a Cali military garrison last week. The clock is ticking for the prosecution who anxiously await the FBI’s video analysis.
“If June 20 arrives and not all the evidence is here, then the prosecution will have to move forward with what they have,” said Lopez’s lawyer, Alfredo Montenegro.