Ex-DAS official surrenders to police over wiretap scandal

A former DAS official, implicated in the security agency’s illegal wiretapping of Supreme Court judges, turned himself in to authorities in Bogota on Monday, reports El Espectador.

Gustavo Sierra, the former assistant director of analysis for DAS, is suspected of ordering the transcription of illegally intercepted telephone calls between members of the Supreme Court, in which they discussed topics such as extradition and the election of a new prosecutor general.

Witnesses claim that while Sierra knowingly ordered the transcription of the conversations, the original instruction to do so came from the then-director of the intelligence agency, Maria del Pilar Hurtada, who takes orders from the president.

Last week, Colombian newspaper CM& published a report blasting the government for its role in the scandal.

The government responded last week with a statement denying any involvement in the wiretapping scandal; “Following stories in the press related to the investigation carried out by the Prosecutor General’s Office about alleged illegal wiretaps, the Presidency of the Republic wishes to state that not one employee of the Casa de Nariño has met with officials to instruct or order the interception [of communication] or shadowing of magistrates, politicians or any person.

“All officials are willing to appear before the judicial bodies to ratify that the Casa de Nariño never has given instructions in this sense,” the statement asserted.

Five former executives of intelligence agency DAS were arrested last week for their alleged part in the illegal wiretapping of judges, journalists, human rights workers and politicians.

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