Colombian ex-president Uribe released from house arrest

Bogota (AFP) –


A Colombian judge on Saturday ordered an end to house arrest for former president Alvaro Uribe, who is under investigation for alleged witness tampering and fraud.

The conservative Uribe, 68, is considered the most influential politician in Colombia of this century, and is currently its most popular one and the political mentor of the current president, Ivan Duque.

Uribe served from 2002 to 2010 and was known for his tough approach to fighting leftist FARC guerrillas and later for opposing an historic 2016 peace accord with them that ended a half century of war.

The Supreme Court had placed him under house arrest in August in a case involving a leftist senator, Ivan Cepeda, who Uribe said hatched a plot to falsely link him to right wing paramilitary groups -- one of the players that fought in Colombia's long, complex war. Uribe was accused of manipulating a witness against Cepeda.

On Saturday a lower court judge accepted a defense motion for Uribe to be released from house arrest while the probe continues.

The former president, who had been serving as senator until resigning from the post in August, responded with a terse tweet: "Thank God."

Uribe was the first former Colombian president ever placed under arrest. A day before being placed in detention, he tested positive for the coronavirus.