The family of Andres Sepulveda, the alleged hacker currently at the epicenter of an ongoing espionage scandal involving one of Colombia’s presidential candidates, has become the target of death threats, national media reported Wednesday.
In light of the threats, attorney Bernardo Alzate has called on Colombia’s Prosecutor General’s Office to guarantee the security of Sepulveda and his family, Caracol Radio reported.
“I have information that the family of Andres Sepulveda has been threatened and it is a function of the state bring the appropriate security to him and those who have been victims of threats for this case,” said Alzate.
Sepulveda was arrested in early May after agents from the Prosecutor General’s technical investigation team (CTI) raided an apartment in Bogota, where they discovered surveillance equipment used to intercept privileged electronic communications.
The suspect was allegedly in possession of classified military intelligence including information regarding the government’s ongoing peace negotiations with the country’s largest rebel group, the FARC, in Cuba, and lists of demobilized guerrilla combatants.
Presidential candidate tied to wiretapping operation
As the story unfolded, it became clear that Sepulveda had been hired as a campaign worker for presidential candidate Oscar Ivan Zuluaga — a staunch critic of the FARC peace talks and the current frontrunner heading into the second round of presidential elections, scheduled for June 15.
Initially, Zuluaga claimed to have never had contact with the hacker. Later, he admitted to having met Sepulveda once, though denied any involvement in the clandestine wiretapping operation.
Then, just a week from the May 25 first round presidential contest, a video and audio recording was released by Semana magazine showing Zuluaga and his former campaign manager being briefed at length by Sepulveda on illegally obtained intelligence.
Despite the criminal implications and calls for Zuluaga’s resignation, the presidential candidate representing former President Alvaro Uribe‘s Democratic Center (Centro Democratico – CD) party won a simple majority in Colombia’s first round of presidential elections.
It remains unclear whether Zuluaga will be brought up on criminal charges between now and the June 15 runoff, and what implications that would have on the democratic process. According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, Zuluaga has three preliminary criminal investigations pending against him.
Sepulveda has been detained on charges of espionage, unlawful violation of communications, illegal use of software, and illegal use of communication equipment.
- Denuncian amenazas contra familiares del hacker Andres Sepulveda (Caracol Radio)