Former President Alvaro Uribe on Twitter took his aggressive behavior against journalists another step further on Friday, calling a satirical columnist a “child molester” on Twitter.
Uribe’s outburst followed a satirical column in which Semana magazine columnist Daniel Samper, the nephew of former President Ernesto Samper, made fun of Uribe’s regionalism and harshly reminded the president about his expected appearance before a transitional justice over his stained human rights record.
The now-senator published a letter in which a supposed reader wordily canceled his subscription with Semana, claiming the columnist has offended Uribe’s home province, Antioquia.
Uribe confirmed that “child molester Samper” had offended Antioquia.
Federico Escobar protesta por ofensa del violador de niños, Samper Ospina, a Antioquia, ofensa publicada en Semana pic.twitter.com/LB6hak88lk
— Álvaro Uribe Vélez (@AlvaroUribeVel) July 14, 2017
Samper immediately announced legal action against the increasingly erratic former president, whose family was intimately close to the Medellin Cartel. In the 1990s, Uribe was an active promoter of the formation of paramilitary groups that ended up committing tens of thousands of human rights violations.
No le tengo miedo a Álvaro Uribe y acudiré a las armas legales para confrontar su capacidad de odio y de difamación. pic.twitter.com/0HJYCY23wn
— Daniel Samper Ospina (@DanielSamperO) July 15, 2017
Press freedom organization FLIP also immediately condemned Uribe, the leader of the hard-right Democratic Center party, the only political party opposing a peace process with the FARC that could mean the political death of multiple top party officials and senators.
The senator’s tweet is a violation of the freedom of press, a stigmatization lacking any proof and an irresponsible claim that as a member of congress generates a risk for the journalist.
Press freedom foundation FLIP
The FLIP reminded the former president that according to the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, the guarantee of the freedom of press “requires that public officials refrain from actions that put journalists and media employees at increased risk of violence.”
Colombia’s Supreme court last year reprimanded Uribe, claiming Uribe’s “aggressive language is a form of violence” and that his increasingly aggressive stance against journalists “could be understood by one of his followers as an invitation, or at least veiled authorization for the use of physical violence against the subject of the tweet.”
The ruling followed a lawsuit filed by another journalist, Daniel Coronell, who Uribe had falsely been accused of having ties to drug traffickers.
A third journalist, now-Bogota council member Hollman Morris, got Uribe so far to publicly retract accusations the journalist was a guerrilla associate.
The transitional justice tribunal is set to take force later this year and expected to call the former president to trial over already proven war crimes committed under his watch and the allegations he was illegally involved with paramilitary groups.