OAS human rights expresses ‘deep concern’ over Colombia spying scandal

The human right commission of the Organization of American States on Thursday urged Colombia’s authorities to carry out an “exhaustive and independent investigation” of reportedly illegal spying by the army.

In a statement, the IACHR expressed “deep concern” after a meeting with Senators Roy Barreras and Ivan Cepeda, who,along with the Supreme Court,were allegedly wiretapped by the army.

According to weekly Semana, former National Army commander Nicasio Martinez ordered the wiretapping and the forwarding of information to the far-right party of President Ivan Duque.

The Supreme Court subsequently found listening devices in the office of the magistrate who is investigating former President Alvaro Uribe, the president’s political patron and the leader of the Democratic Center (CD) party.

Colombia’s Supreme Court surrenders spying evidence to chief prosecutor

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and its Office of the Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression express deep concern over allegations of an alleged network of illegal espionage of the media, journalists, human rights defenders, judges, and political leaders, which would have been developed by state agents in Colombia. The IACHR urges the State to carry out an exhaustive and independent investigation regarding these activities and those responsible.

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

OAS reminds Colombia of second pending wiretap investigation

Apart from demanding an investigation into the latest spying scandal, the IACHR said it was still waiting for results of a 2014 investigation when the CD illegally received classified information on peace talks with the FARC.

In the latest scandal, the ruling party reportedly received information obtained from the wiretapping of Supreme Court magistrate Cristina Lombana, who was briefly in charge of Uribe’s case files.

The IACHR urges the State to guarantee a thorough and independent investigation regarding the facts denounced and, where appropriate, prosecute and punish those responsible.

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights

Because of the alleged involvement of Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo and the prosecution in covering up the scandal, guaranteeing an independent investigation is almost impossible.

Colombia’s army spied on court, politicians and journalists: report

Tough investigation ahead

The Supreme Court called for a “special investigation,” but initially left evidence of spying on magistrate Cesar Reyes, who is investigating Duque’s political patron on fraud and bribery charges, with the prosecution.

Trujillo and Duque have tried to downplay the scandal, but have faced fierce criticism, particularly by Barreras who said he personally told the president over illegal spying more than half a year ago already.

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