Judicial authorities in Belgium formally opened an investigation into the alleged spying activities of Colombia’s intelligence agency DAS in the European country.
Belgium opened the investigation in response to claims by human rights organizations that the DAS “with all impunity and without authorization” illegally intercepted phone calls in that country.
According to one of the plaintiffs, human rights advocate Veronique van der Plancke, the DAS, without any “legal permission” from or “consultation” with Belgian intelligence authorities, spied illegally on NGOs in Belgium, conducted “slander and defamation” operations against them and “violated the confidentiality” of their computers.
A spokesman from the Belgian Public Prosecutor’s Office confirmed to French press agency AFP that it had begun investigating the claims.
According to Colombian media, the DAS spied on European NGOs and even the European Parliament as part of “Operation Europe,” which was intended to find information to delegitimize the work of Europeans who worked for human rights in Colombia.
Following the publicizing of the wiretap scandal, Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe, who is under investigation for involvement in the illegal wiretapping, was forced to start the procedure of dismantling the disgraced intelligence agency. Several former intelligence officials have made plea arrangements with Colombian justice and the country’s inspector general barred several of the service’s directors and Uribe’s former chief of staff from holding public office.