The former president gave a written statement in response to a series of questions over his cousin’s alleged collaboration with paramilitary forces around the time of his election to Congress in 2002.
Mario Uribe, a former president of Congress president, was re-arrested in February. He is accused of holding discussions with the now-disbanded AUC paramilitary forces to gain votes, as well as using his relationship with the group to buy cheap land in the department of Cordoba.
Alvaro Uribe asserts that his cousin’s electoral success is the result of his campaign and not of his dealings with illegal armed groups. Nodier Agudelo, Mario Uribe’s attorney, said that his client received so many votes in Cordoba because President Uribe expressed public support for the campaign, which is not illegal.
Mario Uribe denies the accusations, which are based on statements from former paramilitaries. The politician’s trial is currently entering the testimonial portion and according to the main witness, Jairo Castillo Peralta, alias “Pitirri,” Mario Uribe met repeatedly with leaders of the AUC paramilitary coalition to sign a number of agreements.
The former congressman was first elected in 1994 and served until 2008, when he was first arrested on charges of paramilitary collaboration. He was released in August 2008 due to lack of evidence.