Mario Uribe, a former president of the Colombian Senate, and cousin of outgoing President Alvaro Uribe, said at the start of his public hearing that he has been falsely accused of “parapolitics.”
Mario Uribe was arrested in February after two former paramilitary fighters alleged that they held negotiations with the former senator to help him secure a seat in the Colombian Senate in 2002. The paramilitaries also accused Mario Uribe of having used his relationship with the AUC to buy cheap land in the department of Cordoba.
The ex-senator announced that the statements accusing him of meeting and conducting business with paramilitaries, such as the testimony given by Jairo Castillo Peralta, are entirely without basis.
According to Jairo Castillo Peralta, alias “Pitirri,” Mario Uribe met repeatedly with leaders of the now-disbanded AUC paramilitary coalition to sign a number of agreements.
Mario Uribe pointed to other testimonies as proof of his innocence, such as the statement given by the current president of Ecopetrol, Javierr Gutierrez, who said the ex-senator only acted to improve the situation of the people in various parts of the country.
The Supreme Court will also decide whether or not to accept President-elect Juan Manuel Santos’ excuse for failing to testify in the trial, on the grounds that he had too many engagements owing to his upcoming inauguration.