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The Colombian Attorney General’s Office accuses former President Alvaro Uribe of three crimes

The Colombian Attorney General’s Office accuses former President Alvaro Uribe of three crimes

(CNN in Spanish) — The Colombian Public Prosecutor’s Office on Friday formally charged former President Álvaro Uribe with three crimes: procedural fraud, bribery in criminal proceedings, and bribery, according to Prosecutor Gilberto Ivan Villarreal at the indictment hearing held to analyze the case.

The official accusation against Uribe came hours after the 44th Criminal Judge in Bogotá, Sandra Liliana Heredia, rejected the former president’s lawyer’s request to issue a decision to cancel the entire operation.

Judge Heredia said that from this moment Uribe became a defendant.

Alvaro Uribe has confirmed that he will meet Gustavo Pietro

Before the session scheduled for Friday, the former president denied the accusations against him, and stressed that he was not allowed to defend himself. “It seems the safeguards don’t apply to me,” he said.

This is the first time in Colombia’s history that a former president has faced a hearing of this kind in ordinary justice. If convicted, Uribe could face up to 12 years in prison.

The case against Uribe began in 2012, when the former president accused Senator Ivan Cepeda of wanting to link him to the creation of a paramilitary group. But in 2018, the Supreme Court opened an investigation against Uribe to determine whether he had tried to manipulate witnesses to speak against Cepeda.

In statements he made before the hearing, Uribe said: “I confirm that my political opponents have been able to turn into judicial defendants.”

As accused, the man who ruled Colombia from 2002 to 2010 will go through the process of discovering evidence. The next hearing dates will be June 3, 4 and 5, July 10, 11, 12, 17, 30 and 31, and August 1 and 2, as announced on Friday.

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The Attorney General’s Office announced on April 9 that it had asked the Supreme Court to summon the former president for trial. The first hearing of the case was held on May 17.