Colombian prosecutors say former President Uribe will face trial in witness tampering probe

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Colombia’s prosecutor’s office said Tuesday they will call former President Álvaro Uribe to trial for the alleged crimes of bribery of witnesses in criminal proceedings and procedural fraud, which would make him the first former president to face trial in the Andean country.

The announcement represents a change of course in the criminal process against Uribe since the arrival in March of a new attorney general. Under the previous administration, prosecutors tried twice to close the case after not finding “criminal responsibility of the defendant.” However, those requests were rejected by criminal judges.

The prosecution is expected to formalize the accusation against Uribe at a future hearing, whose date is yet to be established.

If found guilty of the crime of procedural fraud, Uribe could face up to eight years in prison. The crime of bribing witnesses in criminal proceedings could be punishable by up to twelve years in prison.

Uribe faces criminal proceedings after denouncing more than a decade ago that an opposition senator was allegedly seeking paramilitaries to testify against him and link him to the creation of a paramilitary group.

That senator was not prosecuted and, instead, a high court opened a criminal file against Uribe to investigate whether he had been the one who allegedly tried to manipulate witnesses against his opponent.

Uribe, who served as president from 2002 to 2010, was under house arrest in this case for two months in 2020. He has always maintained his innocence.


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