PBI-Colombia accompanies Daniel Prado, Justice and Peace Commission lawyer in the trial of Santiago Uribe Velez

Published by Brent Patterson on

The Peace Brigades International-Colombia Project accompanies Daniel Prado, associate lawyer with the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission.

Prado is representing the family of Camilo Barrientos who was allegedly murdered by the Twelves Apostles, a paramilitary group that Santiago Uribe Velez, the brother of former president Alvaro Uribe Velez, is accused of creating and bankrolling.

Background – Álvaro Uribe to testify about three massacres

On August 24, the Associated Press reported: “Colombia’s Supreme Court is calling on powerful former President Álvaro Uribe to testify in an investigation into three massacres [in La Granja, El Aro, and San Roque in the late 1990s] that could once and for all establish whether he had any ties to violent paramilitary groups.”

“In his decision, Magistrate César Reyes asks for Uribe and several ex-paramilitaries to appear before the court in September and requests a wide scope of documents containing previous court testimony, official records and personnel files aimed at clarifying the circumstances around three massacres.”

Investigation into Álvaro Uribe’s involvement in witness tampering

The Associated Press adds: “The new legal quandary for Uribe is potentially more damaging than a separate Supreme Court probe into possible witness tampering that sparked protests earlier this month after magistrates placed the ex-president on house arrest.”

In terms of that probe, Bloomberg explains: “The investigation began after people linked to Uribe were recorded apparently trying to pressure a jailed former member of a death squad into changing his testimony. The witness, Juan Guillermo Monsalve, said Uribe and his brother Santiago Uribe were involved in setting up an illegal militia in the 1990s.”

Earlier this month, the Associated Press reported that the Supreme Court has handed the investigation into witness tampering to the chief prosecutor who Senator Iván Cepeda says has a “close relationship” with both President Ivan Duque and ex-President Uribe.

Santiago Uribe’s trial re: the Twelve Apostles paramilitary

Telesur has previously reported: “Santiago Uribe Velez has been accused of creating and bankrolling the paramilitary group known as the 12 Apostles when his brother, Alvaro, was a senator representing the northwestern department of Antioquia.”

This week, PBI-Colombia posted this article that notes: “Currently Prado is known in the press as the legal representative for the family of Camilo Barrientos, a ‘chiva’ [a truck used for public transportation in rural areas] driver who was allegedly murdered by members of the ‘Twelve Apostles’ in 1994.”

“The ‘Twelve Apostles’ are tied to the murder of 509 victims, emphasizes Prado. However, this case is limited to the murder of driver Barrientos and Santiago Uribe’s alleged relationship with the paramilitary group.”

PBI-Colombia adds: “The court case is on the verge of concluding; the final arguments from Santiago Uribe Vélez’s defense lawyer are still pending.”

How the investigations into Alvaro Uribe and the trial of Santiago Uribe are connected

In this 5-minute video, PBI-Colombia asks Prado: “How is this case related to the case of ex-president Alvaro Uribe Velez?”

Prado responds: “The case against Alvaro Uribe Velez is related, in one way or another, to the case of Santiago Uribe Velez because [Alvaro Uribe’s] activities to bribe witnesses and commit procedural fraud were, at some point, related to the case of Santiago Uribe Velez and we believe that the families we represent are victims of activities carried out by Mr. Alvaro Uribe Velez.”

Prado also notes: “I think the fact that [Alvaro Uribe’s] brother [Santiago Uribe] was detained led him to a point of desperation, so he committed the errors he committed, and now he is being tried, we are waiting to see if we will be allowed to be included as victims, and from there we will continue the fight.”

To read the PBI-Colombia article and to watch the 5-minute video of the interview with Daniel Prado, please click here.

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