In a closed-door hearing on Tuesday, the Supreme Court handed down the arrest and house arrest of Senator Alvaro Uribe, in trial for trying to bribe witnesses against a political rival. President Ivan Duque defended his “mentor’s” innocence.
It is an unexpected decision for Alvaro Uribe, who has never been worried about justice. During a hearing held behind closed doors, the Colombian Supreme Court on Tuesday, August 4, ordered the arrest of the former president who is suspected of having tried to bribe witnesses against a political opponent.
In a press release, the court specifies that the former head of state (2002-2010) “will serve the detention at his residence and from there can continue to exercise his defense with all legal guarantees”.
“The deprivation of my liberty causes me deep sorrow for my wife, for my family and for the Colombians who still believe that I have done something good for my homeland,” the denator and head of the Democratic Center (CD, in force) replied on his Twitter account .
The release of my liberty causes me to be deeply saddened by my senator, by my family and by the Colombians who todavien creen que algo bueno he hecho por la Patria
– Álvaro Uribe Vélez (@AlvaroUribeVel) August 4, 2020
He now has to wait for the day of his trial before this court, the only one that has the power to convict parliamentarians.
A decision praised by Human Rights Watch, slandered by its supporters
Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online. .
In a public defense, the current president, Ivan Duque, defended his mentor: “I believe and will always believe in innocence and honor for the one who, through his example, has won a place in the history of Colombia”, he explained and emphasized his “friendship with Alvaro Uribe “.
Colombia: President Duque defends Alvaro Uribe’s innocence
On Tuesday night, his supporters demanded a parade in car manufacturers in Bogota, due to the municipal ban on demonstrations due to the confinement that was valid for almost five months before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Some castrated concerts in favor of or against the former president also succeeded in the capital.
But others, such as José Miguel Vivanco, executive director of America’s division of Human Rights Watch (HRW), praised her. “I commend the Supreme Court for acting responsibly by ordering Uribe’s house arrest. The court shows that everyone – even the most powerful – is equal before the law. Legal independence must be respected,” he tweeted.
Colombia: Congratulations to Corte Suprema on acting with responsibility for ordering Uribe’s home detention
The Court demonstrates that all — have the most power — are equal to the other. Hay que respetar Independent court.
International Community will respond to the Court
– José Miguel Vivanco (@JMVivancoHRW) August 4, 2020
Suspected of manipulating witnesses against an opponent
Alvaro Uribe, who was heard on October 9, 2019 by the magistrates, is the subject of an investigation into the manipulation of witnesses in his capacity as senator, a case that could acquire him up to eight years in prison for bribery and procedural fraud.
The former president, who still enjoys some popular support for his policy of iron fists against the left guerrilla, filed a 2012 complaint against Senator Ivan Cepeda for an alleged plot based on false witnesses.
He claims that his main political opponent, himself a witness in the case, has called on former paramilitaries to accuse him of being involved in the right-wing millions of right-wing criminal activities against the rebels.
However, the court did not initiate proceedings against Ivan Cepeda, but decided in 2018 to initiate an investigation against Alvaro Uribe for the same reason: manipulation of witnesses against an opponent.
“No one is higher than justice and the law of Colombia, influential and powerful even if they are,” the left-wing senator said.
An intense campaign to defend his honor
Colombia’s Supreme Court has ordered the arrest of former President Alvaro Uribe
This decision is “an unprecedented event”, admits France 24 correspondent in Bogota, Pascale Mariani. “Alvaro Uribe had never been worried, as more than 200 charges were against him in the Supreme Court. He seemed immobile.”
In addition to this case, he is the target of other investigations into alleged crimes linked to the long and complex armed conflict that has plagued Colombia for nearly six decades.
In June, the Supreme Court announced the launch of an investigation into a case of illegal wiretapping carried out by the military in 2019, targeting some 130 journalists, politicians, retired soldiers and trade unions.
After all, Alvaro Uribe has always proclaimed his innocence and his party is leading an intense media campaign to defend the “leader’s” honor.