Protesters greet Uribe in Spain as he collects prize

27th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

About 50 people protested outside the site in Madrid where former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe on Wednesday collected an anti-terrorism prize from a Spanish university.

The crowd whistled and called out "Uribe murderer" as he arrived.

Some held signs demanding that he face trial at the International Criminal Court for alleged human rights abuses during his eight-year tenure which wrapped up in August.

"It has been proven that this man has ties to paramilitary groups and has committed crimes against humanity," said Paula Sanabria, a 20-year-old student who holds both Spanish and Colombian nationality as she held up a giant white sign with pictures of people who were killed by Colombian paramilitaries.

Uribe is credited with beating back a guerilla insurgency, significantly reducing coca production and jump-starting the economy.

But his administration was tainted by the revelation that members of the army had been killing civilians, many of them from poor backgrounds, and dressing them up as guerillas to inflate body counts.

Uribe was awarded the anti-terrorism prize by Madrid's CEU San Pablo university together with former conservative Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar.

Two Colombian human rights campaigners on Tuesday filed a complaint against Uribe alleging his intelligence agents had targeted rights activists in Spain.

© 2010 AFP

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