Former President Álvaro Uribe assured that he will be called to trial for witness tampering .
Listen to this article
Former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe assured this Thursday that he will be called to trial for a case of alleged procedural fraud and bribery of witnesses , a decision of the Superior Court of Bogotá that will supposedly be announced this Friday.
In a statement he gave to the press in Cartagena de Indias, Uribe, who was president from 2002 to 2010, said that "none of the witnesses in this long process have been able to refute my statement that I never took the initiative to go looking for prisoners (to testify against Senator Iván Cepeda). Even though all the witnesses have said so, I am being taken to trial."
The case began in 2012 when Uribe sued the senator of the leftist Polo Democrático Alternativo (PDA) Iván Cepeda for alleged witness tampering , who at that time was preparing a complaint in Congress against him for alleged links to paramilitarism.
However, the Supreme Court of Justice decided not to open an investigation against the congressman and, instead, initiated proceedings against the former president for witness manipulation.
Uribe's defense requested the early closure of the case but, according to the information leaked to the press this Thursday, this would have been rejected by Justice.
"Upon arriving in Cartagena I read the news that the Court of Bogotá denies the preclusion in my favor and orders that a trial be opened against me. I undoubtedly receive it with enormous concern," said Uribe.
"I don't know about bribing witnesses and deceiving the Court (…) I hoped that the unanimity of the witnesses on the subject would allow a ruling in my favor, which has not happened," he added. For Uribe, "the process began with vices (…) it seemed like a 'vendetta' against me for some differences I had with the Court during my presidential tenure."
In this regard, Cepeda's lawyer, Reynaldo Villalba, spoke out after the publication of the news to question the leak, which "is quite worrying," especially when both parties had already been summoned.
Villalba added that they hope that the Prosecutor's Office will present a "robust" indictment, since on previous occasions the prosecuting body has considered that there is not enough evidence against the former president.
Background of the Uribe-Cepeda case
The complaint that Uribe filed against Cepeda in 2012 in the Supreme Court took a 180-degree turn when Judge José Luis Barceló, who received it, not only filed it but decided to open an investigation into the former president for alleged manipulation of witnesses.
In mid-2018, the Court called Uribe to be investigated for procedural fraud and bribery, since the investigations of that high court indicated that the former president, through third parties, such as the lawyer Diego Cadena, apparently tried to manipulate former paramilitaries so that will testify against Cepeda.
In 2020, the Court ordered Uribe's house arrest within this same process, becoming the first former Colombian president to be ordered detained.
This same year, a judge denied, for the second time, the preclusion of this case, considering that there is evidence that the former president may have "the status of participant" in the crime of bribery and witness tampering.