A Colombian prosecutor travelled to Argentina on Tuesday to speak with the former Colombian police major who alleges that President Alvaro Uribe’s brother led a paramilitary death squad in the 1990s, reports El Tiempo.
According to reports, Hernando Castañeda, the head of the Prosecutor General’s Office’s human rights unit, met with exiled Colombian police major Juan Carlos Meneses to collect his official testimony.
According to El Tiempo, sources close to the case report that Castañeda spoke with Meneses to collect information that the former police major claimed to have regarding a massacre that took place in a rural area in the department of Antioquia.
However, the report does not rule out that Castañeda also questioned Meneses over his allegations that Santiago Uribe led the paramilitary group “The Twelve Apostles.”
Following the allegations from Meneses in late May, Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s office announced that they would open a pre-investigation Santiago Uribe.
In the allegations, made during an interview with The Washington Post, Meneses claims that the president’s brother was the main fundraiser and strategist behind the “12 Apostles,” a death squad led by a group of prominent citizens. According to Meneses, he attended meetings with the group in which it was decided who was going to be killed. The former police commander’s role, he claims, was to make sure no authorities would be present at the time of the murder.
Following the article, Santiago Uribe sent a letter to the U.S. newspaper vehemently denying any involvement, stating that the same accusations had been “archived by the Prosecutor General of the nation of Colombia, following the dismissal of two investigations on May 8, 1996, and February 29, 2000, respectively.”
For his part, Colombian Defense Minister Gabriel Silva called the accusations a Venezuelan plan to discredit the Colombian head of state.
Meneses’ integrity has been called into question, following revelations that he was investigated for “irregularities” during his time in the Colombian police force. There are also allegations he is linked to a criminal organization that attempted to sully the Uribes’ name, and according to police director General Oscar Naranjo, Meneses also spent six months in prison.