The former director of Colombia’s now defunct intelligence agency was released from prison Friday after the investigation into his alleged role in the 1989 murder of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan was declared invalid.
The release of the former DAS director, General Miguel Maza Marquez, followed a Supreme Court decision that the investigative process into Marquez` alleged role in the murder of Galan was “invalid.”
The court has accepted the argument of Marquez’ defense team, that as he was Director of DAS at the time the alleged crime, he has a constitutional right to a trial by the Supreme Court, and not by a lower judge, as was the case.
In its decision the court referred to “background vices” in the investigative process, which was being carried out by the Prosecutor General given the legal jurisdiction of General Marquez.
The decision annuls all investigations into Marquez’ role in the murder, leaving as admissible only evidence from the last six years.
Marquez will now face trial by the Supreme Court, based only on the more recent evidence.
The former director, held in a police training center in Bogota since December 2009, was visibly emotional upon his release, and expressed his confidence that he will prove his innocence before the high court.
Marquez was being held on charges of aggravated homicide for terrorist purposes, and attempted murder for terrorist purposes, in the death of presidential candidate Galan in 1989.
According to the prosecution, Marquez was responsible for “serious omissions” in the security plan for Galan, put in place by the DAS, despite repeated death threats against Galan from drug cartels.
In August 2011, the Criminal Chamber of the Supreme Court upheld charges against former Justice Minister Alberto Santofimio, currently serving 24 years in prison for the murder of Galan.
The murder of the immensely popular Galan remains one of the most high-profile political murders in Colombia’s history.