Colombians at home and across the world demand President Álvaro Uribe Velez’s freedom. Photo Credit: RCN

Pressure is mounting in Colombia to free former President Álvaro Uribe from detention, after that country’s Supreme Court transferred his case to the office of the attorney general yesterday.  Uribe’s constitutional right to due process was systematically violated before his arbitrary arrest on August 4, causing outrage in Colombia and solidarity among world leaders.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Óscar Arias, ex-president of Costa Rica, has demanded Uribe’s release, along with former Spanish Prime Minister José Maria Aznar and 19 former presidents from throughout Latin America.  Expressing “solidarity” with Uribe, these leaders affirmed Uribe’s arrest was due to “a political conflict with another Colombian senator that was prosecuted,” referring to the baseless accusations from Senator Iván Cepeda. 

Arias and his colleagues warned in a letter of solidarity with Uribe on August 10 that “internal and foreign actors linked to the FARC – now a political party – are celebrating the ex-president’s house arrest as an achievement,” at the same time they were defending the Supreme Court’s release of FARC leader Jesus Santrich, a close Cepeda ally.  After his release, Santrich escaped to a FARC guerrilla camp to resume his war on Colombia’s democratic government.

“Democracy and the rule of law are seriously compromised when the universal guarantee and protection of human rights are manipulated or driven by ideology,” they wrote.  “We alert the general public and the free governments of the West about a global drift that must be stopped in a responsible and timely manner.”

On freeing the former president of Colombia, they unanimously repeated the words of President Iván Duque: “A person who has had the honor of leading this country should be able to defend himself in freedom.”

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