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  • Former President Alvaro Uribe in a press conference at Rionegro, Colombia, March 6, 2016.

    Former President Alvaro Uribe in a press conference at Rionegro, Colombia, March 6, 2016. | Photo: EFE

Published 16 August 2019

The former far-right President Uribe was summoned on Friday for an investigation in a case of witness manipulation.

Colombia’s Supreme Court of Justice (CSJ) requested that former President Alvaro Uribe appear on October 8 to answer for bribery and procedural fraud.

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"In compliance with the provisions of the Criminal Chamber, at the request of Judge Cesar Augusto Reyes... within the action taken against you, it has been arranged to practice tests and to listen to you in an inquiry diligence on Oct. 8," the Supreme Court indicates in a letter addressing Uribe, which also warns that "you must come accompanied by your defender."

On Feb. 16, 2018, the CSJ Chamber received an accusation by Uribe against Ivan Cepeda, a senator of the left-wing Alternative Democratic Pole (PDA), in which the former president held that Cepeda convinced former paramilitaries to testify against him.

With these testimonies, which were obtained in Colombian prisons, the leftist senator managed to link Uribe with paramilitary groups operating in Antioquia, a department in the northwest of the country.

After studying the accusation against Cepeda, however, the CSJ Criminal Chamber concluded that Uribe's complaint was inadmissible. On the contrary, the available information showed that Uribe had manipulated witnesses to delegitimize Cepeda's work.​​​​​​​

"Reelection of Alvaro Uribe was bought: Diego Palacio, his former minister (and not any 'resentful' paramilitary or witness in prison) said it. Will we believe the former minister?" The meme reads, "Reelection of Uribe was bought. Diego Palacio confessed bribes for his reelection and requested to take advantage of the Special Justice for Peace."

On July 24, 2018, the Court opened an investigation against Uribe for pressuring people in order to change statements against him.

"The defense of Senator Uribe is so weak that its main argument is to qualify what the CSj has carried out over the past seven years as a montage," Cepeda, spokeman of the Movement of Victims of State Crimes (MOVICE), said.

"When it comes to investigations involving Uribe, his relatives or political allies, the absence of legal arguments is replaced by fallacious accusations against the Court as well as by the intention of deceiving public opinion."

Academics and journalists have denounced the relationship between Alvaro Uribe and the armed groups of the extreme right for decades.

"In 1960s, U.S. military missions promoted the creation of self-defense groups as a strategy to combat subversion in rural areas," Jorge Enrique Forero wrote and commented that politician Alvaro Uribe had a very intertwined personal story with the leaders of drugs-related paramilitarism even before from the 1990s.

"In this regard, the first mention comes from a classic book on the history of drug trafficking in Colombia, 'the Cocaine Riders' where Alberto Uribe Sierra, the former president's father, is described as a 'recognized drug trafficker.' [It] also mentions the role that, as director of the aeronautics administrative unit, Uribe had in the delivery of licenses for the drugtraffickers' runways and aircrafts.”

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