A newly-released legal document containing evidence collected by the Investigation Chamber of Colombia’s Supreme Court of Justice confirms that former President and sitting Senator, Alvaro Uribe Velez, knew that witness tampering was being carried out in his favor, by his lawyer Diego Cadena.
Colombians Celebrate Ex-President Alvaro Uribe's House Arrest
The 1,554-page document, released by El Espectador newspaper, contains the Supreme Court’s evaluations of hundreds of pieces of evidence including wiretaps, statements under oath, prison records and videos related to the investigation into Senator Uribe for the crimes of bribery in criminal proceedings and procedural fraud.
The Court's Investigation Chamber affirms that "the circumstantial evidence is abundant, clear, unequivocal and conclusive."
Lawyer Diego Cadena, who like Senator Uribe was arrested and put in house arrest as preventative detention this week, is revealed to have directly contacted witnesses while carrying out actions such as drafting witness statements and reporting back to Uribe each step of the way.
Offering perks, Uribe and Cadena acted with intent and allegedly tried to get those who have exposed the former president for alleged links with paramilitarism in the department of Antioquia, to recant and to get others to speak in his favor, all within the context of ongoing investigations of Uribe for other crimes, some related to the emergence of paramilitary groups in the 1990s, and various human rights violations.
Uribe has long said that lawyer Diego Cadena acted on his own account but according to the Court's findings, on the part of former President Uribe there was “persistence in the approach, pressure and undue or illegal offers towards potential witnesses and the systematic adduction of spurious elements of evidence” with respect to three people: Juan Guillermo Monsalve, an ex-paramilitaries Carlos Enrique Velez and Euridice Cortes who were allegedly offered bribes.
On Tuesday, the Supreme Court ordered Uribe’s house arrest with consideration of the risks to obstructing justice, following which a court in Bogota imposed house arrest on his lawyer, Diego Cadena.
The day after his arrest, Uribe was said to have COVID-19, though the claim raises doubts based on its timing.
Leftist Senator Ivan Cepeda hailed the decision of the Supreme Court, as one which “helps us to consolidate democracy in Colombia” within a corrupt judicial system largely considered to have been manipulated by people like the former President Uribe, an impediment to the search for justice and truth for the victims of the violence of paramilitarism.
Uribe is a close ally of current President Ivan Duque, who two years into office, has been faulted for the increase in armed presence, a humanitarian crisis, the systematic murder of social leaders and human rights defenders and the dismantling of the Colombian peace process following the 2016 signing of the Accords.