Colombian prosecutors have opened an investigation into the brother of former President Avaro Uribe on accusations of being involved in both the creation of paramilitary groups and murder.
Santiago Uribe Velez will face the Prosecutor General on October 17 in order to respond to his alleged involvement in the creation of a paramilitary death squad in Antioquia department, where his brother was governor between 1995 and 1998.
This is the first time that one of the ex-president’s closest family members has been called before the Prosecutor General as part of an investigation. Alvaro Uribe is currently under investigation for “parapolitics” – having links with paramilitary groups.
The former president confirmed the news on his twitter account Wednesday, saying: “They have opened an investigation into my brother after a lawyer of [Gustavo] Petro [Mayor of Bogota] said that the Prosecutor General wasn’t proceeding [with the investigation] because of my influence.”
Citan a indagatoria a mi hermano después que abogado de Petro dijo que Fiscalías no procedía por mis influencias
— Álvaro Uribe Vélez (@AlvaroUribeVel) September 25, 2013
Santiago Uribe was allegedly involved in the creation of a group known as “The 12 Apostles,” who operated almost 20 years ago in the area of Yarumal, northern Antioquia, where the Uribe family ranch – Finca Carolina – was located. He was also allegedly involved in the murder of Camilo Barrientos Duran on February 25, 1994, at the Finca Carolina.
Five years ago the retired Major of the police in the area, Juan Carlos Meneses, accused Uribe of being involved with The 12 Apostles. The accusation, made before Argentine Nobel Peace Przie winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel, was published in prestigious newspapers like The Washington Post.
Meneses claims that when he arrived in the post of police Major, his predecessor told him that “You have to give money to [The 12 Apostles’], the group has a boss called Santiago Uribe Velez.”
Newspaper Semana reports that Meneses will also face the Prosecutor General in October as part of the same investigation.
This is not the first time Santiago Uribe has been investaged for allegedly having ties with paramilitaries; the same happened in 1996 and 2000.
More than 80 politicians have been imprisoned for parapolitics since 2006. Many of these were allies of Alvaro Uribe, who was President from 2002 to 2010. Last week it was confirmed that he heads Democratic Center’s list of candidates for next year’s conressional eletions, despite the investigation into his alleged ties with paramilitaries.