The defense of Colombia’s ex President Alvaro Uribe Wednesday demanded the substitution of one of congressmen investigating the former head of state’s alleged responsibility in wiretapping government opponents.
According to the defense, Representative Alfredo Bocanegra is not able to fairly rule on Uribe’s implication in the scandal after the congressman’s remarks in the press that he “will not be the Heyne Mogollon of Uribe,” referring to a former congressman who had asked to absolve then-President Ernesto Samper who he was supposed to be investigating for links to the Cali cartel.
Following Uribe’s call on his right of subtitution, Bocanegra will now have to pronounce whether or not he withdraws from the commission. Eitherway the House of Representatives will also vote on the congressman’s ability to proceed with the investigation.
Uribe’s case was initially taken up by a three-man commission that makes part of the Congress’ Accusations Commission, in charge of criminal investigations against heads of state. One commission member, Augusto Posada of the ruling Partido de la U, already had withdrawn from the commission because of his personal friendship with the former President. If Bocanegra also withdraws, the only remaining member of the commission will be Heriberto Escobae of the PIN, a controversial party with links to convicted politicians and family members of paramilitary groups.
Uribe is suspected of having ordered the illegal wiretapping of supreme court judges, journalists, politicians and human rights groups. Several of his closest aides have been convicted because of their responsibility. The former president claims the illegal wiretaps were carried out behind his back.