A Bogota judge ordered five paramilitary leaders who are currently being held in the U.S. to testify in the murder trial of a former top official in Colombia’s Department of Administrative Security (DAS), Jose Miguel Narvaez, newspaper El Espectador reported Monday.
Narvaez, who was assistant director of the now-defunct state intelligence agency, is under investigation for involvement in the August 1999 murder of journalist and political cartoonist Jaime Garzon.
The judge ordered testimony from paramilitary leaders Salvatore Mancuso, Diego Murillo, alias ‘Don Berna,’ Rodrigo Tovar Pupo, alias ‘Jorge 40,’ Freddy Rendón Herrera, alias ‘El Aleman’ and Ivan Roberto Duque, alias ‘HH.’
Don Berna’s testimony is considered especially important since he has previously stated that Narvaez ordered former AUC leader Carlos Castano to threaten the life of Garzon for sympathizing and collaborating with the National Liberation Army, Colombia’s second largest insurgency group.
The judge also ordered former Senator Piedad Cordoba to testify, who has said that while she was kidnapped by the paramilitary group in 1999, she heard Castano plotting to kill Garzon.
Narvaez is also under investigation for the murder of Manuel Cepeda Vargas, a senator from the Patriotic Union party, in addition to being accused of illegal surveillance and wiretapping of politicians, judges and human rights workers.