A Bogota judge on Tuesday sentenced two policemen and a a public prosecution employee for the illegal wiretapping of a Supreme Court justice, a scandal in which Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe is implicated.
The three lower-ranked officials were sentenced to 11 years in prison for the illegal wiretapping of magistrate Ivan Velasquez, the Supreme Court’s former main investigator of ties between dozens of congressmen and paramilitary organization AUC.
The judge ruled that the policemen and prosecution official were part of a “criminal organization” and that the defendants were guilty of conspiracy, fraud, falsification of public documents and the unlawful use of communications equipment.
According to the judge, the prosecution successfully demonstrated that the policemen and prosecution employee illegally included the private telephone lines of the Supreme Court magistrate in unrelated criminal investigations to obtain the warrants necessary to bug Velasquez’ communication channels.
The case against the lower-ranked officials is part of a larger investigation of the illegal wiretapping of the Supreme Court, opposition politicians, journalists and human rights organization that were carried out after Uribe took office in 2002.
According to several government witnesses, the orders to illegally spy on officials and civilians came from the president’s office and were coordinated by the DAS, Colombia’s former intelligence agency that was closed down after the breaking of the scandal in 2008.
Former paramilitary commanders have testified that the wiretapping was part of a more elaborate conspiracy to discredit Velasquez and the Supreme Court, and others who were deemed inconvenient for the Uribe administration.
The scandal spurred investigations into the former president himself, his former press secretary, Uribe’s former chief of staff, two former directors of the DAS appointed by Uribe and a number of under-directors from the now-defunct intelligence agency.