International human rights group demands due process, right to trial in freedom

The Human Rights Institute for Peace and Freedom (HRI) called on the Colombian state to guarantee Uribe’s right to trial in freedom. | Photo: Semana

The Human Rights Institute for Peace and Freedom (HRI), the Madrid-based human rights organization, declared that it “has observed evidence of an arbitrary detention” of former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe “which violates his human rights.”

The human rights group demanded that the Colombian state “must guarantee his right to trial in freedom and in compliance with the rules of due process.”  The group noted it reviewed arguments submitted by Uribe’s counsel to the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) to reach its conclusion announced yesterday.

Uribe was arrested without charge on August 4, 2020, in a politically motivated case riddled with violations of due process including illicit wiretaps, selective leaking of evidence, and orders which violated Uribe’s constitutional rights.

HRI is part of the global council of the World Jurist Association, founded in 1963 as a global organization of judges, attorneys and legal scholars to promote the rule of law around the world.  It has had special consultative status at the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) since 1967.

The statement from the human rights group follows an letter of solidarity by 21 Iberoamerican former heads of state declaring that Uribe’s arrest was due to “a political conflict with another Colombian senator that was prosecuted” and demanded his release to face trial in freedom.  The 21 former presidents warned that “democracy and the rule of law are seriously compromised when the universal guarantee and protection of human rights are manipulated or driven by ideology.”