A Colombian man pled guilty Wednesday to spying on Nicaragua on behalf of the Colombian state.
Luis Felipe Rios, a 34-year-old Colombian national allegedly employed by the intelligence wing of the Colombian military, was arrested in Nicaragua’s capital Managua last week after having been followed by Nicaraguan authorities for over a year, said General Julio Cesar Aviles of the Nicaraguan army.
In a hearing to which the press had no access, Rios “fully admitted the facts,” said his defense lawyer, Nicaraguan Silvia Sanchez. Rios could be sentenced for up to 16 years for the charges of violating state secrets and state intrusion. Rios’ sentencing hearing is set for July 9.
The “overwhelming evidence” against the Colombian national included an e-mail exchange with two members of the Nicaraguan military and with “people of Colombia,” told reporters the special prosecutor in that case, Manuel Reyes.
The alleged spy arrived in Nicaragua in 2010, apparently presenting himself as a Spanish citizen working for a publication that writes about security and violencem issues, wrote Colombian newspaper Vanguardia Liberal.
Tensions between the two countries have been high since Nicaragua laid new claims to theColombia‘s San Andres archipelago, located close to the Nicaraguan coast. Colombia has controlled the archipelago, including the San Andres and Catalina islands since the 1928 Esguerra-Barcenas Treaty
Nicaraguahas long refuted the treaty which was put into effect while the country was under U.S. military occupation. The dispute is currently being settled at the International Court of Justice in Holland.