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  • Colombian congressman Ivan Cepeda at a book lauch in Bogota, Colombia, Feb. 28, 2014.

    Colombian congressman Ivan Cepeda at a book lauch in Bogota, Colombia, Feb. 28, 2014. | Photo: EFE

Published 11 May 2019

The Victims of State Crimes Movement spokesman has received protection since he denounced former President Uribe's relations with paramilitary groups.

Colombia's leftist congressman Ivan Cepeda has attended a hearing at the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) in Kingston, Jamaica to denounce death threats against him as a consequence of his role in the Colombian Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) in a case against former President Alvaro Uribe.

Cepeda says Uribe was using bribes and and witness tampering the case against him that charges Uribe ordered paramilitary groups to carry out massacres in the department of Antioquia while he was governor there in the late 1990s, and in other regions of Colombia before and during his presidency.

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"After hearing the information about my risk situation ... the IACHR agreed to follow up on this case," the Colombian congressman said.

In 2014, current Senator Uribe accused Cepeda of manufacturing fake witnesses to link him with paramilitary groups in Antioquia.

This accusation was made after Cepeda presented statements of paramilitary bosses Pablo Sierra and Juan Monsalve who said that Uribe and his brother Santiago were behind the creation of the "Metro bloc", an Antioquian branch of the United Self-Defenders of Colombia (AUC ) paramilitary group.

Colombian judges found indications that Uribe, who served as Antioquia's governor between 1995 and 1997, had attempted to get the former paramilitary members to change their original statements.

Since then, Cepeda, who is the Victims of State Crimes Movement (MOVICE) spokesman, has received protection from Colombian authorities. On Feb. 2019, the Colombian Court ratified Cepeda's evidence againt former president Uribe who could be kicked out of the senate if he loses his case.

In a related story, the Inter-American Press Association (SIP) expressed Friday its concern over the lawsuits that Senator Uribe filed in Florida against Daniel Coronell, a journalist who wrote about corruption and power abuse by Uribe.

"Lawsuits against the journalist appear to have the intention of silencing him, in reprisal for his uncomfortable investigations," the SIP president Maria Elvira Domínguez said, adding that "the principle of press freedom should always prevail over the right to honor".

For his part, Roberto Rock, director of the Mexican Broken Chair portal, said that "politicians and personalities often resort to the mechanism of overwhelming journalists and media with numerous complaints to silence them and generate self-censorship."

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