Colombian Prosecutors Move to Drop Witness Tampering Case Against Former President Urribe

Columbian authorities on Friday decided to drop the case and investigation into conservative former president Álvaro Uribe’s alleged involvement in witness tampering and fraud practices that led to his house arrest for two months in 2020, indicating the potential end of one of the most controversial legal in the South American country.

Seen as one of the most influential and powerful Colombian politicians, Uribe served as a president of the Andean nation for eight years. He became prominent for being strongly against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), a Marxist–Leninist guerilla group known for its violence and armed attacks in the persisting Colombian armed conflict which began in 1964.

The criminal charges set against Uribe are connected to a complaint that he filed in 2012 against left-wing human rights activist and senator Iván Cepeda. The former Colombian president accused Cepeda of plotting to falsely link him to right-wing paramilitary forces.

Instead of investigating the complaint filed against Cepeda, the Supreme Court moved to open a witness tampering probe against Uribe.

After leaving his post in the Senate, the Supreme Court then handed over Uribe’s case to Attorney General Francisco Barbosa’s office.

The Supreme Court forwarded Uribe’s case to Barbosa’s office because it is only allowed to handle and investigate lawmakers.

The Colombian prosecutors assigned to the case then asked a judge to shelve the criminal inquiry into the former president and lawmaker’s alleged fraud and bribery practices, citing the insufficiency of evidence that could prove the criminal charges set against Uribe.

“After a comprehensive evaluation of the probatory material elements, physical evidence and the information legally obtained during the course of this process, the prosecutor in this case established that various conducts which judicially involved the ex-congressman do not have the characteristic of crime, and others which do cannot be attributed (to him) as author or participant,” Barbosa’s office said in a statement.

“Thank God for this positive step. Thank you to so many people for your prayers and solidarity,” Uribe wrote in a tweet.

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