Demobilized and extradited paramilitary chief “Don Berna” has told Colombian prosecutors that a former deputy director of intelligence service DAS was a member of paramilitary organization AUC, newspaper El Espectador reported Friday.
According to the newspaper, it had received a 12-page transcript of the testimony that Diego Murillo, alias Don Berna, had testified from the the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York via video conferencing before the Supreme Court.
“I would like to start with saying that doctor (Jose) Miguel Narvaez was a member of the United Self Defense Forces of Colombia (AUC) and I had the opportunity to meet him personally in 1997,” Don Berna began his testimony according to the newspaper.
According to the former warlord, the paramilitaries had strong influence in the Colombian security forces and that “we used mister Narvaez as a go-between, as he was teaching at the Superior War School and gave information about operations against the paramilitaries or persons who had links to the guerrillas or the left.”
The testimony of Don Berna adds up to testimony given by another former AUC commander, “El Aleman,” who had told the court that “we took the addresses and names that he gave us because those people were leftist guerrillas infiltrating universities, NGOs and the media and they had to be killed.”
According to Don Berna, the AUC counted on the active support of other prominent Colombians, ranked higher than Narvaez. Don Berna refused to name names citing security reasons for the members of his family who are still in Colombia.
“I believe, out of my personal experience, that without the support of powerful sectors of society, the paramilitaries could not have obtained such influence and the capacity to act they had until their mobilization,” the former warlord said.
The newspaper did not report when the testimony was given. Don Berna refused further collaboration with Colombian justice in October 2009 claiming his family was at risk because of his declarations.
Narvaez is currently in jail for the illegal wiretapping of supreme court magistrates, journalists, human rights workers and politicians and was earlier accused of having ordered the murder of the popular journalist and comedian Jaime Garzon. The attorney of Narvaez resigned earlier this week after death threats.