A hearing in the process against former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe Vélez for the crimes of procedural fraud and bribery of witnesses who accused him of alleged links with paramilitarism was suspended on Friday without a resumption date, after the judge recognized a new victim .

In this case, Uribe Vélez spent more than two months in house arrest during 2020. The former president ruled Colombia from 2002 to 2010.

At the hearing, the Prosecutor’s Office did not present before Judge Carmen Helena Ortiz the arguments for which it requested a month ago the preclusion of the case – an early termination of the process without going to trial, as it did not find merit to formally accuse Uribe Vélez as the author of the case. crimes.

Rather, the hearing focused on the request for the inclusion of two more victims in the judicial process. The judge recognized as a provisional victim Deyanira Gómez, who was a sentimental partner of Juan Guillermo Monsalve, the most important witness in the case.

He is a former paramilitary who declared before the Supreme Court of Justice that he had received pressure from people close to Uribe Vélez to change the testimony against him, in which he related the creation of a paramilitary group in the Las Guacharacas farm, which was owned of the Uribe Vélez family.

In 2018 Deyanira Gómez took a letter to the Supreme Court of Justice in which Monsalve, imprisoned in a Bogotá jail and convicted of kidnapping, retracted his version and wrote a clarifying note that said:

“I am making this letter under pressure from the lawyer Diego Cadena (Uribe’s lawyer) and Enrique Pardo Hache alias ‘el gringo’ who were sent by President Álvaro Uribe Vélez”.

The defense of the former president has denied these accusations, saying that it was Monsalve who sought them out to retract his testimony.

The judge determined that Deyanira Gómez was the victim of persecution and threats after delivering the letter, for which she received special security measures granted by the National Protection Unit, and later they were of such “magnitude” that they led her into “exile.”

The beginning of this case against Uribe Vélez dates back to 2012, when the leftist senator Iván Cepeda denounced him before Congress for alleged links with paramilitarism, before which the former president decided to sue him for allegedly obtaining false witnesses.

However, in 2018 the Supreme Court of Justice defined that Cepeda was a victim, closed the process and opened another against Uribe Vélez, accusing him of trying to manipulate witnesses against Cepeda.

After gathering evidentiary material, the Supreme Court ordered the house arrest of Uribe Vélez in August 2020.

However, two weeks later the former president resigned his seat as senator in Congress and thus managed to get his investigation out of the Supreme Court – which investigates the congressmen- and will go to the Prosecutor’s Office, where it currently takes place.

The judge did not recognize Gonzalo Guillén as a victim in the process, a journalist who alleged damage to his honor and good name due to the alleged accusations of Uribe Vélez’s attorneys.

“Guillén has already filed a complaint for slander and that is where he is a victim,” said the judge.

The defense of Uribe Vélez, the Prosecutor’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office – in charge of disciplinary proceedings against public officials – appealed the judge’s decision to declare Deyanira Gómez as a victim in the process, a decision that will be made by the Superior Court of Bogotá.

After that, the hearing is expected to continue and the judge will decide whether to close the Uribe Vélez case or order its continuation.

The ex-president remains active in political life. He is the leader of the Democratic Center party, which endorsed the current Colombian president Iván Duque.

“He is a character that does not leave many indifferent. His two long governments, which were really a turning point in the armed conflict in Colombia, generated enormous support at the time,” Yann Basset, a political analyst and professor of political science at the Universidad del Rosario, told The Associated Press.

“It is not so popular anymore. Currently their opposition to the peace process (with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) and the revelations of things like false positives have generated more resistance and hostility”.

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