Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe said Saturday that former government officials facing corruption charges are subject to “criminal revenge” and “political persecution.”
The former head of state referred primarily to Maria del Pilar Hurtado, Uribe’s former spy chief who is wanted by judicial authorities for her alleged role in the illegal wiretapping of opponents and critics of the Uribe administration. Bernardo Moreno, Uribe’s former chief of staff who is in jail awaiting charges over the same scandal, is a “political prisoner,” Uribe said in a statement while on a visit to Panama which is considering the extradition of Del Pilar Hurtado.
Another political prisoner according to the former president is former Agriculture Minister Andres Felipe Arias who is in jail for allegedly embezzling $25 million in government subsidies.
Luis Carlos Restrepo, the former administration’s peace commissioner who is investigated for his alleged role in inflating paramilitary demobilization figures and charged with faking the demobilization of a non-existent FARC front, also is subject to criminal revenge and political persecution, said Uribe.
According to Colombia’s former president, the prosecution of his former aides and the extradition of Del Pilar Hurtado from Panama is being promoted by “Colombian organizations who have not clarified their ties to the guerrillas and have deceived the State with false victims like the cases of Mapiripan, Las Pavas and the non-existent mass graves in [the central Colombian] Macarena [region].”
“Colombia had a destructive penetration of criminals in high positions in the State. The justice sector has been affected and inexplicably pursues those who served the nation well,” Uribe said.