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  • Supporters say the investigation against Colombian Senator Ivan Cepeda is politically motivated.

    Supporters say the investigation against Colombian Senator Ivan Cepeda is politically motivated. | Photo: Archive

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Authorities launched an investigation into Senator Ivan Cepeda's efforts to hold former President Alvaro Uribe accountable for his alleged links to paramilitaries.

A chorus of voices from throughout Colombia came out Wednesday against the investigation launched by Colombian Attorney General Alejandro Ordoñez against leftist Senator Ivan Cepeda.

A rally in front of the offices of the Attorney General supported by Cepeda's political party, the Democratic Pole, was held Wednesday to show their opposition to what they deem to be a “systematic campaign of persecution by far-right (political forces).”

The rally counted with the presence of Clara Lopez, the standard bearer for the left in the upcoming Bogota mayoral election, and other prominent leftist figures such as Aida Avella, leader of the Patriotic Union.

Attorney General Ordoñez launched an investigation into Cepeda over his efforts in the Colombian Senate in September, 2014 to hold former far-right President Alvaro Uribe accountable for his alleged links to paramilitaries and crimes against humanity. 

Specifically, Ordoñez accuses Cepeda of abusing his authority by visiting prisons solely to obtain false statements from prisoners against Uribe and offering them certain benefits in exchange.

Cepeda vehemently denies the accusations and told El Tiempo newspaper that he followed the necessary protocol for his visits to the prisons.

Ordoñez is widely recognized as a key ally of Uribe, who is currently under investigation for allegedly collaborating and financing paramilitary groups in the country during his time as governor of the department of Antioquia. 

RELATED: Who is Alvaro Uribe?

Cepeda told El Tiempo that the investigation against him was an effort to get payback for the investigation launched against Uribe for his alleged links to paramilitaries.

“We the victims of state crimes have insisted that it is our right and of the whole country to know the truth about the links between politicians and paramilitaries,” read a statement by The National Movement of Victims of State Crimes, which organized Wednesday's rally.

"We reject the persecution of the Attorney General against those who struggle for the establishment of the truth and peace. We consider these actions as an obstruction to our right to truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-repetition." 

Cepeda is a champion of the ongoing peace process between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, and the Colombian government and has also been a strong advocate of justice for victims of the armed conflict.

A communique from the FARC peace delegation agreed that the investigation by Ordoñez was “retaliation” for Cepeda's efforts to denounce Uribe's alleged links with paramilitary groups.

"It is obvious that (Ordoñez´s efforts) to seek to silence one of the leading voices of the opposition, for  the mere fact he is carrying out his public duties, is a clear act of political persecution that causes serious harm to democracy," the FARC added.

The FARC, who are seeking to demobilize in order to participate in the legal political arena, said that this kind of persecution sends the wrong signal.

RELATED: Colombia’s Peace Process Explained

"In Colombia you cannot operate under the principle of a carrot for friends and a stick for those who do not bow before the powerful, or share their ideology. That has been the conduct of Attorney General Ordoñez," said the FARC peace delegation.

In Colombia, the post of Attorney General is elected through a popular vote. The mandate of that office is to investigate the conduct of public officials. 

Cepeda accuses Ordoñez of being motivated in part out of his opposition to peace, and called him a “declared enemy” of the peace process.

The leftist senator has also publicly questioned Ordoñez's impartiality, saying that "there is no possibility that the attorney general will ensure an impartial investigation in my case."

Ordoñez claims to have testimonies to back his allegations against Cepeda, but the senator said those came from a private detective who works for Uribe.

The attorney general also went after the sitting leftist Mayor of Bogota Gustavo Petro, resulting in his temporary removal from city hall.


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