Colombia’s Supreme Court ordered increased protection for one of the last living witnesses in a criminal case over the violence-ridden past of former President Alvaro Uribe after multiple assassination attempts.
Juan Guillermo Monsalve was taken to a safe house after the son of one of Uribe’s former employees survived a stabbing and a poisoning attempt in prison, local media reported.
The former president is investigated by the Supreme Court over attempts to manipulate Monsalve who has claimed Uribe and his brother Santiago formed their own death squads in the 1990s.
Other possible key witnesses died in suspicious circumstances or were murdered as the Uribe family’s political and economical power grew.
The Supreme Court is investigating both Uribe brothers, who have long been controversial over the family’s close ties to the Medellin cartel in the 1980s and the alleged ties to paramilitary groups in the 1990s.
The case against Santiago Uribe, who faces homicide charges, resumed on Monday.
The former president’s brother was recently released from jail where he had been for two years while on trial.
According to the hard-right politician, he and his younger brother are the victim of a conspiracy of leftist opponents and drug traffickers.
Dozens of elite families like that of Uribe have seen members end up behind bars after revelations of widespread between the country’s rural elites and drug trafficking paramilitary groups.
Since the demobilization of the largest of these paramilitary organizations, the AUC, more than 60 congressmen and seven governors were convicted and sent to prison.
In spite of multiple accusations of criminal activity, the former president has yet to be formally charged with crimes related to paramilitary violence.