Twenty-four years after the killing of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan, prosecutors’ crosshairs are now on the former director of Colombia’s now-defunct intelligence agency for his possible involvement in the assassination, reported newspaper El Tiempo Tuesday.
Following a chain of command to discover the original incriminating order that allowed for the assassination of Galan, prosecutors alleged that decisions made by Miguel Maza in addition to already accused ex-police officers have been linked to the popular liberal politician’s death. The official announcement including details of a two-month investigation of the former intelligence director is expected later.
“There are documented testimonies and evidence that demonstrate that the changing of bodyguards allowed the crime to take place,” a decision that would have been authorized by Maza, according to anonymous prosecutor on the case.
Maza maintains that he is innocent, and that any testimonies or evidence contrary to the fact are lies or have been falsified, according to El Tiempo.
For over a year now, the Prosecutor General has been trying to prove that the security team in charge of Galan’s safety at the political rally during which he was shot, were colluding with drug cartels that ultimately hired the hit. Currently former DAS intelligence executive Manuel Gonzales and retired Police Major Luis Montilla are awaiting trial on charges of aggravated homicide. They have been incarcerated since March.
The Prosecutor’s office initially suspected Maza when they collected the other two suspects earlier this year, however the Supreme Court of Colombia allowed him to remain free claiming jurisdiction over a case involving a high official. The Court did not annul the evidence that had been collected prior to their suspicions earlier this year, but said that the Prosecutor would need more to move forward.
While it is unclear at the moment if the state has gathered enough evidence to charge Maza, the newspaper suggested that this announcement will determine the former director’s fate moving forward in this investigation.
Popular liberal presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan was assassinated in 1989 during a public appearance in the central state of Cudinamarca by members of the Medellin drug cartel which he had riled due to a proposed extradition treaty with the United States. He was expected to win the 1990 presidential elections.
The DAS was the chief intelligence agency of Colombia until 2010, when current President Juan Manuel Santos transferred most functions to the Police. The agency had been disgraced by numerous scandals involving political killings, ties to paramilitary umbrella organization AUC, the illegal wiretapping of government critics and the Supreme Court, and drug trafficking.