By Julia Symmes Cobb
BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombia’s Supreme Court said on Monday a judge has the authority to rule on the future of a house arrest order against former president Alvaro Uribe, who is being held in a witness tampering case.
The procedural decision is the latest development in a years-long case which saw the divisive former president detained in August.
Uribe and several allies are being investigated over allegations of witness tampering in an attempt to discredit accusations he had ties to right-wing paramilitaries.
Uribe’s lawyer had asked a judge to free him while the case continues, but the judge said last month she could not rule on the motion until the Supreme Court, which was previously in charge of the case, determined whether she had authority in the decision.
Video: Questions remain following Comey’s testimony on Trump-Russia probe (Fox Business)
“The Supreme Court ratifies the power of Guarantees Judge #30 to resolve the request for liberty of ex-senator Alvaro Uribe Velez,” the court said in a post on Twitter.
Uribe, a mentor to current President Ivan Duque, has insisted he is innocent.
He resigned his senate seat after the house arrest order, leading the court to transfer the case to the attorney general’s office, which critics say will be less rigorous.
In 2012, Uribe accused leftist Senator Ivan Cepeda of orchestrating a plot to tie him to right-wing paramilitary groups.
But in 2018, the Supreme Court said Cepeda had collected information from former fighters as part of his work and had not paid or pressured former paramilitaries. Instead the court said it was Uribe and his allies who pressured witnesses.
(Reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; editing by Grant McCool)