PBI-Colombia accompanies CAJAR lawyer Reynaldo Villalba during the fraud and bribery trial of former president’s lawyer Diego Cadena

Published by Brent Patterson on

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PBI-Colombia has posted: “We accompanied @ReynaldVillalba of @Ccajar [the José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers’ Collective] in the framework of the proceedings related to the trial being carried out against lawyer Cadena. Guarantees are urgently needed in the climate of defamation and threats.”

Diego Javier Cadena Ramírez was Álvaro Uribe’s lawyer. Uribe was the President of Colombia from 2002 to 2010 and a Senator from 2014 to 2020.

Photo: Lawyer Diego Cadena and former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe.

CAJAR has previously explained that Cadena on behalf of Uribe offered economic and legal benefits to Carlos Enrique Vélez (a paramilitary leader) and pressured and made offers to Juan Guillermo Monsalve (also a member of a paramilitary) so that they would both make false statements against Senator Iván Cepeda in favour of Uribe.

Photo: Senator Ivan Cepeda.

It is our understanding that Cepeda had made the case that Uribe was involved in the formation and support for the Metro Bloc paramilitary and that Cadena’s offers to the two paramilitary leaders was an effort to undermine Cepeda and suggest that he had approached them to make false testimony against Uribe.

Cepeda was acquitted in 2018 of this false charge of witness tampering. Later that year Uribe was implicated in witness tampering and procedural fraud. In August 2020, the Supreme Court of Justice ordered an arrest warrant against Uribe.

In October 2020, PBI-Colombia explained: “As human rights defender and Senator Iván Cepeda Castro’s lawyer, Reynaldo Villalba has accompanied this case against the ex-president since it began.”

Reporting on this past week’s trial, El Colombiano notes: “Reynaldo Villalba represents Senator Iván Cepeda in the process.”

Cadena on trial

This week, El Espectador reported: “The trial against Diego Cadena and his colleague, Juan José Salazar Cruz, accused as co-perpetrators of the crimes of procedural fraud and bribery, began on February 6.”

It adds: “Carlos Enrique Vélez, alias Víctor, claims that Cadena offered him 200 million pesos in exchange for a letter and statements” that “both he and his former boss alias Alberto Guerrero had met with Cepeda in La Picota prison in 2017” to offer false testimony against Uribe that linked him to the creation of the Metro Bloc of the Self-Defense Forces.

Infobae also reported: “Monsalve, in the midst of the face-to-face hearing that was held before the third criminal judge of the Circuit with Knowledge Function of Bogotá, reaffirmed that in February 2018, apparently, Cadena’s visits [to Monsalve in jail] began and with that the pressures.”

And El Pais noted: “Monsalve is a notorious former paramilitary who is imprisoned in La Picota. He is the Supreme Court’s biggest witness against Uribe, as he said that the former president participated in the creation of the Metro Bloc.”

Photo: Former paramilitary leaders Carlos Enrique Vélez and Juan Guillermo Monsalve.

Uribe and paramilitaries

InSight Crime explains: “The former president, his family members, and some of his closest associates have found themselves the subject of journalistic investigations and accusations that they aided and financed illegal right-wing paramilitaries in the 1990s.”

That article adds: “The groups, which ultimately came under the banner of the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC), served as the government’s proxies in a parallel war against the country’s leftist guerrillas and suspected collaborators. While maintaining ties to drug trafficking groups, the paramilitaries committed massacres and terrorized the civilian population, at times displacing entire villages.”


PBI-Colombia has noted: “Between 2019 and 2020, lawyer Reynaldo Villalba, as the representative of Senator Iván Cepeda in the case against former president Alvaro Uribe Velez, has received threats and harassment. For which bars and lawyers around the world have joined to support the work of this group.”

PBI-Colombia has accompanied CAJAR since 1995.

We continue to follow this.

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