A former worker for the election campaign of presidential candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga, who was arrested on charges of spying on Monday, allegedly wants to negotiate with the government and seek a possible bargain, to avoid a possible 25 year prison sentence, reported local media.
Andres Fernando Sepulveda was captured Monday in a raid on a Bogota wiretapping office, and according to the Prosecutor General Eduardo Montealegre, was trying to “sabotage the peace process” with the FARC, reported El Tiempo.
The clandestine Bogota wiretapping facility — the second one seized in the past six months — was raided by prosecution officials earlier in the day, after which an arrested suspect was announced who was soon tied to Zuluaga and the political leader of his Democratic Center party, Alvaro Uribe.
Espionage, the principle charge Sepulveda is facing, carries a sentence of 18 years in Colombia. Along with the additional charges of unlawful violation of communications, use of malicious software and interception of computer data, the computer programmer faces a possible sentence of 25 years in prison.
El Tiempo reported that one of his first moves was to request negotiations with the prosecutor’s office. Seized in the raid on the clandestine office were, 8 computers, multiple USBs, law enforcement documents, lists of demobilized guerrillas and reports on political campaigns which will be provided as evidence.
Prosecutor General Montealegre said that the illegal wiretapping operations by Sepulveda and 4 associates was intended to “interfere and affect the peace process.”
Allegedly, the emails of the press chief of the FARC in Havana, two Cuban journalists covering the peace process and another official, were intercepted by the hackers.
Montealegre said that the hackers apparently broke the security of an electronic account of Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, as well as trying to gain access to the emails of FARC chief negotiator Ivan Marquez and the account of politician Piedad Cordoba.
Liberals may demand Zuluaga withdraw
Zuluaga confirmed in a statement on Monday that the office had been used by his campaign but only to provide “outreach on social media and computer security programming.”
The presidential candidate disassociated his campaign from any illegal activity and stated that “if someone has committed a crime they must be punished and any potential illegal actions must not go unpunished.”
However, liberals, who support the Santos campaign, have called on Zuluaga to withdraw from the elections if Sepulveda’s ties to his campaign are proven.
- Hacker preso por ‘sabotear proceso de paz’ busca acuerdo con Fiscalía (El Tiempo)
- Oscar Ivan Zuluaga Statement (Press Release)
- Los trinos del hombre que ‘chuzó’ al proceso de paz (Semana)