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Hearing in Colombia ex-president case to resume only after appeals - judge

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Colombia's former president, Alvaro Uribe, reacts during a news conference after a private hearing at Supreme Court of Justice, in Bogota, Colombia October 8, 2019. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez/File Photo

BOGOTA, April 9 (Reuters) - Hearings on whether to close a witness tampering investigation into former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe will remain suspended pending the decision of a tribunal that will consider adding additional victims to the case, a judge said on Friday.

Proceedings that could close the investigation, requested by the attorney general's office after it found Uribe's conduct did not constitute a crime, began earlier this week but were suspended so Judge Carmen Helena Ortiz could consider adding the victims.

Uribe - who has maintained his innocence - and several allies are being investigated over witness tampering allegedly carried out in an attempt to discredit accusations he had ties to right-wing paramilitary groups.

Ortiz on Friday said one alleged victim of the witness tampering - the former partner of an ex-paramilitary - should be included in the case, but rejected the inclusion of another potential victim.

The Superior Tribunal of Bogota will now hear appeals from the attorney general's office and Uribe's lawyer, among others.

The long-running case stems from Uribe's accusation in 2012 that leftist Senator Ivan Cepeda was orchestrating a plot to tie him to paramilitaries.

In 2018 the Supreme Court said Cepeda had not sought to influence ex-paramilitaries and instead it was Uribe and his allies who pressured witnesses.

Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

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