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Colombia: Former President Uribe still cannot close bribery investigation and could land him in prison

Justice colombian denied this Tuesday the request of a prosecutor to close the investigation against the former president alvaro uribe for alleged bribery, a new setback for the former president in one of the most notorious and politicized cases in recent years in the country.

Contrary to what was asserted by the prosecutor, there is evidence, physical evidence and legally obtained information that makes it possible to affirm with probability that the criminal conduct of bribery did occur, and that Dr. Uribe may have the status of participant“said the judge Laura Barrera during a public hearing in Bogota.

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It is the second time that a court has rejected a request by the prosecution to close the investigation against Uribe for allegedly bribing and manipulating witnesses around his alleged participation in extreme right-wing armed groups.

The decision paves the way for Uribe, who ruled between 2002 and 2010 with a strong-arm policy against leftist guerrillas as applauded as it was criticized, to become the first former Colombian president to stand trial.

As happened last time, what the judge is saying today is that with these arguments, with these tests, the case cannot be precluded”, explained to AFP the criminal lawyer Francisco Bernate.

But the prosecution can still prepare a new request to close the investigation or appeal Barrera’s decision to another court.

If a higher court finally accepts the judge’s ruling, Uribe will have to go to trial and could eventually be sentenced to prison for two related crimes (bribery and procedural fraud), which in Colombia They are punished with about eight years in jail.

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boomerang effect

The prosecutor in charge of the case shares the theory of Uribe’s defense, according to which the 69-year-old former senator limited himself to contacting witnesses so that they would tell the truth in the investigations into his possible participation in ultra-right groups, which fought to the blood. and fire on the leftist guerrillas. A link that Uribe has always denied.

The head of the prosecution, Francisco Barbosawas proposed for that position in 2020 by former president ivan duke (2018-2022), member of Uribe’s party. His period at the head of the investigative entity ends at the beginning of 2024, when the leftist president, Gustavo Petrowill propose a new shortlist for attorney general to the Supreme Court.

Uribe, accused on various fronts of having ties to drug traffickers and paramilitaries, ended up entangled by a boomerang effect of the Colombian justice system.

In 2012 he filed a complaint against the left-wing senator ivan cepeda for an alleged plot against him supported by false testimonies.

Uribe maintains that Cepeda – one of his greatest political adversaries and a witness in his trial – contacted imprisoned ex-paramilitaries to get them to involve him in criminal activities of ultra-right groups.

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Both sides committed human rights violations in the midst of the conflict that has bled Colombia dry for six decades, and which Uribe unsuccessfully tried to quell through a policy of open confrontation.

However, the Supreme Court refrained from prosecuting Cepeda and instead began investigating the former president in his capacity as a parliamentarian in 2018. The magistrates concluded that Uribe tried to manipulate witnesses to discredit his opponent.

Source: Elcomercio

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