Witness Carlos Enrique Areiza had claimed receiving death threats since 2011 when he was testifying against Mario Uribe, Alvaro Uribe's cousin">
Leading presidential progressive candidate Gustavo Petro demanded answers from Colombia's former President Alvaro Uribe Sunday where he asked him to explain why a key witness in a case against Senator Uribe was murdered.
Carlos Enrique Areiza is a key witness in an investigation against Alvaro Uribe, for allegedly manipulating witnesses against senator and human rights advocate Ivan Cepeda, was murdered by two hitmen on April 14.
Areiza had repeatedly said he was receiving death threats since 2011 when he was testifying against Mario Uribe, Alvaro Uribe's cousin in the case. According to him, after a hearing in Medellin against M. Uribe men went to his house and told his father: "Tell him to shut up or we'll shut him up through you." Some days later, his father was murdered.
In the case against Senator Uribe, Areiza had confirmed the former president was part of a network of false witnesses coerced into saying Senator Cepeda had bribed them to link Uribe to paramilitarism. Cepeda has researched the links between the Uribe family and the rise of paramilitarism for decades.
On Sunday after Alvaro Uribe tweeted "Dr. Gustavo Petro is as bad an administrator as Maduro and as good a speaker as Chavez," Petro answered stating "If you want to address me, start by unblocking me @AlvaroUribeVel and start by explaining why a witness testifying against you and the debate chief for candidate Duque was murdered."
In a later tweet, Petro added: "They rape journalists and murder witnesses. And yet, there are people who believe they are a political alternative that deserves to govern Colombia."
International human rights organization Human Rights Watch has demanded increased state security for the Uribe-Cepeda case's witnesses, and Cepeda has called for a full investigation into the witness' murder.
Santiago Uribe, Alvaro Uribe's brother, has been investigated for two decades as part of the paramilitary group "12 apostles" case. The case began with 12 witnesses. At least 8 have been killed.
In 2015, Areiza allegedly sent a letter to the court complaining that Ivan Cepeda had pressured him and offered around US$36,000 to make him testify against the Uribe brothers, former president Uribe's advisor Jose Obdulio and former Antioquia governor Ramos Botero, who was detained in 2016 for links with paramilitarism.
However, in declarations made this year before being murdered, Areiza stated he never wrote the letter and that he was coerced into signing a blank paper later filled with the accusation against Cepeda.