The Bucaramanga Superior Court in northern Colombia has given President Juan Manuel Santos 48 hours to retract a statement in which he claimed that there are some “rotten apples” in the judiciary.
The comment was an apparent reference to Judge Juan de Dios Solano, particularly in reference to the judge’s decision to grant the freedom of alleged FARC guerrilla Jose Marvel Segura, alias “Chucho.”
Santos criticised the decision and said that there are some “rotten apples” in the judiciary who must not be allowed to overshadow the work of justice, a statement which the court considered to be a clear attack on the dignity and honor of Judge Solano and the judiciary in general.
Solano subsequently filed a writ against the head of state, with which he must comply within 48 hours through a retraction or correction of his statement.
Chucho, apparently the bodyguard of fallen FARC leader “Mono Jojoy,” was later rearrested by authorities after Judge Solano had freed him under a writ of habeas corpus.
He faces charges of involvement in the bombing of a Bogota nightclub, as well as further crimes of terrorism, murder and theft.
Santos’ outburst is a departure from his general theme of supporting the independence of the judicial system, an area in which he has been relatively restrained in his criticism in comparison to his predecessor Alvaro Uribe.