Former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe remains awaiting his release, ordered on Saturday by a Bogotá judge, but will continue to be linked to the process for alleged procedural fraud and bribery of witnesses.
Uribe, who was president of Colombia between 2002 and 2010, He has been under house arrest since August 4 at his estate in “El Ubérrimo”, in the north of the country, and today he planned to give a statement on the lifting of that measure but at the last minute he canceled it.
On Saturday, in a telematic hearing, the criminal judge 30 with guarantees function of Bogotá, Clara Ximena Salcedo Duarte, granted freedom to Uribe, founder of the Centro Democrático party and mentor of the current Colombian president, Iván Duque.
However, the former president has not yet received the release document that will allow him to resume his activities beyond the farm where he has stayed for the last 68 days.
The case for alleged manipulation of witnesses that deprived him of his freedom these months is the one that has advanced the most and also the least serious among the numerous investigations that Uribe faces in the Colombian justice system.
Overturn in court
During the period in which he has been under house arrest by order of the Supreme Court of Justice, Uribe continued to comment on social networks about national politics, but he resigned his Senate seat, with which the case that confronts him with Senator Iván Cepeda, of the left-wing Alternative Democratic Pole (PDA) party, turned upside down in the courts.
The first consequence of that decision was the loss of jurisdiction with which his case went from the Supreme Court – where according to Uribismo its leader is subject to political persecution – to the Prosecutor’s Office, which in turn led to a change in the law by which will govern the process.
The change from Law 600 of 2000 to Law 906 of 2004 was the defense argument, supported by the Prosecutor’s Office, to ask for the freedom of the former president, and rejected in turn by Cepeda, counterpart of the process, whose lawyers appealed Judge Salcedo’s ruling.
Criticism of the counterpart
Cepeda resumed criticism of the prosecutor Gabriel Jaimes, in charge of the case since last month, as he considers that he will not give “any guarantee” in the process and will favor Uribe’s impunity.
Since Jaimes was assigned to the process, Cepeda considers that he will not be impartial in his role as prosecutor, criticisms that he reinforced after the official took a position at the hearing in favor of granting the former president’s freedom and criticized the actions of the Investigation Chamber of the Supreme Court of Justice, which was the one that ordered Uribe’s house arrest.
“The strategy of the prosecutor Gabriel Jaimes in the Uribe process was absolutely clear: annulling the main evidence for alleged illegality, trying to avoid the accusation and less the accusation. He has become the guardian of the impunity of former senator Uribe” Cepeda wrote on social media.
The case that faces them started in 2012 when Uribe sued Cepeda for alleged manipulation of witnesses, who at that time was preparing a complaint against him in Congress for alleged links to paramilitarism.
However, the investigating magistrate of the case filed the case against Cepeda and opened an investigation to the former president.
Judge Salcedo’s decision was followed by a chain of reactions in the country and escalated to the president of the United States, Donald Trump, who in the middle of the political campaign congratulated Uribe, whom he considered an ally of his country “in the fight against Castro-Chavismo “.
“Congratulations to former President Álvaro Uribe, a hero, a former recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and an ally of our country in the fight against Castro-Chavismo. I will always be with our Colombian friends!” Trump wrote on his account on Twitter
The Colombian President, Ivan duque, which in August expressed on several occasions your disagreement with Uribe’s arrest warrant, which in turn earned him criticism from the opposition, this time he has not spoken about the freedom ordered by the judge.
However, the Colombian vice president, Marta Lucía Ramírez, assured that “with independent institutions and attached to our Constitution and legal order, democracy wins.”
“I celebrate the decision that will allow Álvaro Uribe to continue with his defense in freedom,” the vice president wrote on Twitter, while in Montería and Medellín there were caravans of support for the former president on Saturday.