Colombia’s President-elect has been called to testify by the Supreme Court at the trial of the former Senator Mario Uribe Escobar, who is currently under investigation for alleged links to right-wing paramilitary groups.
Uribe, cousin of President Alvaro Uribe, was arrested in February after two former paramilitary fighters alleged that they held negotiations with the former senator to help him in order to 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.
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. Extradited AUC leader, Salvatore Mancuso, also stated that he had met with Mario Uribe in 2002, before that year’s March elections.
Also testifying is president of Ecopetrol, Javier Gutierrez. He must explain to the court why Uribe achieved such a high percentage of the votes in Montelibrano, Cordoba in 2002, a town whose financial resources Gutierrez had considerable influence over at the time.
The testimony of Santos and Gutierrez was requested by Mario Uribe’s defense team.
The trial of the former senator continues on July 12 in the criminal chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice.