Saturday, September 30

The confirmation of the trial against Álvaro Uribe for bribing witnesses heats up the Colombian electoral campaign

  • The former president tried to harm Senator Iván Cepeda, who accuses the former president of links with far-right paramilitarism.

  • The judicial decision is known in the middle of an electoral campaign in which the right tries to prevent the victory of Gustavo Petro

There is no talk of anything else in Colombia at this time. The ex-president Alvaro Uribe has received a new sign of its political decline. Despite the efforts of his lawyers and the Prosecutor’s Office itself, he must face trial for alleged witness tampering to harm Senator Iván Cepeda, who accused the former president of links with far-right paramilitarism. It is a relevant fact because it involves the man who, from 2002 and until very recently, made the force of his iron fist felt in Colombia, for eight years in the Nariño Palace and outside of it. If Uribe hoped for something, with a certain nonchalance, it is that the case he had opened against him would be undone without major setbacks. The judge Carmen Helena Ortiz Rassa however, he has refused to file it. According to the portal the empty chairwith the decision made by Ortiz Rassa, the Supreme Court of Colombia recovered its “credibility” before society.

The main judicial authority had initiated investigations into the certainty that there were sufficient elements related to the purchase of testimonies by the former president. Uribe came to be under house arrest, Two years ago. At the time he resigned his seat in the Senate. He claimed to have done so due to a lack of guarantees if the Supreme took action on the matter. His movement allowed the case to remain in the orbit of a General Prosecutor’s Office that, as has been pointed out, answers to the president Ivan Duke, a dolphin of the former head of state. What happened had the sign of predictability: the prosecutor Gabriel Jaimes dismissed in March 2021 the work of the highest court, which he had accumulated telephone recordings and testimonies of imprisoned paramilitariesamong other evidence, and acted accordingly.

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Contrary to expectations, Judge Ortiz Rassa has refused to close the investigation. She considered that the suspicions of bribery and witness tampering deserve to be elucidated. It is unknown whether prosecutor Jaimes will appeal the ruling or file a new request for preclusion with new arguments. “For the first time, a former president of the Republic will assume his criminal responsibility before a judge“said Cepeda. “This process has been an important democratic lesson in the country, because it once again emphasizes that the judiciary must control the eventual criminal actions committed by the political power, regardless of how high-ranking the investigated figures are. There are no pressures, nor any kind of actions that stop the independence of the judges of the Republic. “We expect a call to trial as soon as possible.”

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The Democratic Center, the Uribe formation par excellence, came out in defense of its leader and spoke of a “politicization” of justice. “Millions of us support Alvaro Uribe because we know of his tireless work to love and serve this country.”

election background

Uribe’s judicial defeat does a disservice to the right in the face of May 29 elections in which Fderico Fico Gutiérrez will try to stop, in the name of Uribismo and other conservative sectors, the rise to the presidency of the leftist Gustavo Petro. The former mayor of Bogotá, first in the polls, endorsed Cepeda’s opinions and repeated them on his Twitter account. The Historical Pact, the coalition that supports his candidacy, also did not miss the opportunity to recall the importance of the process that will follow the former president: “Not even with the Prosecutor’s Office in his favor could he get rid of the evidence they have against him,” he said. your elected senator, Martha Peralta Epieyú

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