BOGOTA – A leftist Colombian lawmaker said on Tuesday that right-wing former President Alvaro Uribe is orchestrating a smear campaign against the senator and the country’s Supreme Court to sidetrack an investigation.
Sen. Ivan Cepeda told a press conference in Bogota that he plans to sue journalists Gustavo Rugeles and Fernando Londoño for claiming that he and senior officials of the current conservative government bribed Supreme Court judges to pursue the probe against Uribe.
Though Rugeles and Londoño cited an intelligence report as the source for their allegations, Cepeda said that Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas assured him that no such report exists.
The senator also said that they will investigate “what is the role of ex-President Uribe” in this “campaign,” since the former chief executive re-tweeted the report about the alleged bribery.
Cepeda said he will appeal to the Inter-American Court for Human Rights “to ask for guarantees of independence and protection for the Supreme Court judges and request protective measures for ourselves.”
The Supreme Court announced Monday night that it was suspending the investigation of Uribe pending the outcome of an attempt to force several judges to recuse themselves for ostensible bias against the former president.
Uribe, who was president between 2002 and 2010, was being investigated for witness tampering in a case brought by Cepeda.
The story goes back to 2012, when Uribe accused Cepeda of trying to find demobilized paramilitaries willing to testify that the former president had connections to the militias while serving as governor of his native province of Antioquia.
But the Supreme Court not only exonerated Cepeda, it concluded there were grounds to scrutinize Uribe’s conduct.