Colombia’s ex-president Uribe charged with witness tampering

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Colombia’s former president Alvaro Uribe arrives for a press conference at the Democratic Center party headquarters, in Bogota, Colombia, June 29, 2022. (AP)

BOGOTA, Colombia, May 25, (AP): Former Colombian president Álvaro Uribe was charged Friday in a long-running witness tampering investigation.
Uribe was formally charged with witness tampering and bribery for his efforts to discredit a political opponent who was digging into Uribe’s family ties to right-wing paramilitary groups. If convicted, Uribe faces up to 12 years in prison.
The case dates back to 2012, when Uribe filed a complaint with the Supreme Court accusing a leftist lawmaker, Iván Cepeda, of slander. In 2018, the high court – the only authority allowed to investigate lawmakers – closed the investigation against Cepeda, and in a bombshell reversal, announced it was opening a new probe into Uribe, who was then a senator for fraud and manipulating testimony.
Uribe, who governed Colombia with strong US support from 2002 to 2010, has denied any wrongdoing and has accused Colombia’s chief prosecutor’s office of “political vengeance.”
There are wiretapped phone conversations in which the former president can be heard discussing with one of his lawyers efforts to flip two former paramilitary fighters who were set to testify against him. Uribe said his conversations were intercepted illegally.
The long-running legal battle is taking place against a polarized political backdrop in the South American nation that has been made more intense by the 2022 election of another Uribe critic, President Gustavo Petro, a former leftist rebel himself.

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