The lawyer of former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Velez’s brother rejected statements by a key witness in the case against his client, national media reported on Monday.
The witness, former National Police Major Juan Carlos Meneses, had fled the country 12 years ago after receiving death threats following his accusations that Santiago Uribe, Alvaro Uribe’s younger brother, led the “Los 12 Apostoles” (12 Apostles) paramilitary group in a town where the Uribe family owned a business.
On Monday, Meneses turned himself in after hiding in Venezuela for over a decade, announcing in an interview just before submitting himself to the authorities that he would be providing evidence to corroborate his former accusations against Santiago Uribe.
Shortly after, Uribe’s lawyer released a statement highlighting the “cynicism” of Meneses’ claims, given that the fugitive-turned-witness had been the subject of an international search warrant issued by Colombian authorities and Interpol in relation to a 1994 murder attributed to The 12 Apostles, as reported by national newspaper El Espectador.
The former police major had previously referred to the warrant in his interview with La Semana, stating that he would not attempt to avoid the accusation and that he will assume responsibility, once evaluated by Colombia authorities.
Still, Menesesin rejected the statements made by his former colleague, Alexander Amaya, who accused him of being the one who ordered the crime, claiming that Amaya has been corrupted by Santiago Uribe in order to defame Menseses.
Santiago Uribe’s lawyer now claimed that the accusations against Meneses relating him to the murder of the bus driver were actually confirmed by more witnesses than just Amaya and rejected any illegal relationship between Amay and Uribe.
In the end, the lawyer attempted to paint Meneses’ testimony as part of a smear campaign against former President Alavaro Uribe ahead of his 2014 Senate campaign.
The former president has been subject to a number of accusations of paramilitarism himself, and many from his inner circle of political allies and family members have fallen under criminal investigations since Uribe left office in 2010.