Drummond court battle ensnares Uribe

A legal cat and mouse game continues between former Colombia president Alvaro Uribe and Colombia plaintiffs seeking U...

A legal cat and mouse game continues between former Colombia president Alvaro Uribe and Colombia plaintiffs seeking Uribe_s testimony in the on-going court battles alleging assassinations of Colombian workers and union sympathizers near the Drummond Co._s coal mining operations in northeast Colombia.

Plaintiffs in the latest case against Drummond filed a petition earlier this January in US District court in Washington, DC   to force Uribe to testify about Uribe_s unlawful  collaboration with the AUC (Spanish acronmym for Auotdefensas Unidas de Colombia or United Self-Defense of Colombia)---a rightwing paramilitary organization classed as terrorists by the US since 2001.

Uribe _brazenly ignored a proper subpoena_ which was served in November, 2010 claims the latest suit . The suit also alleges that Uribe has knowledge about the  top AUC leaders regarding violent attacks and murders around Drummond_s coal mines in Colombia.

The original case is awaiting the setting of a trial date by US Judge David Proctor in Birmingham, Ala. federal court. (Claudia Balcero Giraldo et al vs. Drummond Co. et al.) Drummond won a similar case in 2007.  The civil cases are heard in front of a US jury in federal court under the obscure Alien Tort Claims Act of 1798. Drummond is based in Birmingham.

The  argument  over the subpoena for Uribe_and the subsequent wrangling over whether or not he can be forced to testify---is being heard in US court in Washington, DC  because that is where Uribe was subpoenaed while  teaching a course at Georgetown University .

Uribe_s  prominent Washington attorney, Gregory B. Craig, has requested to the court that Uribe be prevented from testifying because this would _harm Washington_s relations with the Colombian government._

The 67 Colombia plaintiffs ---suing Drummond in a civil action for wrongful deaths---are seeking the Washington court to require Uribe_s deposition before March 10, 2011. The court filings allege Uribe likely knows whether Drummond made payments to  Fabio Echeverri, Uribe_s chief of staff while  Uribe was president of Colombia, _to facilitate the cooperation of the Colombia military and the AUC as they jointly committed war crimes that also  furthered Drummond Coal Co. business interests in Colombia._

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