Colombia’s Supreme Court on Monday called reported spying by the army in collusion with President Ivan Duque‘s party “an attack on democracy” as criminal investigations kicked off.
Former army chief Nicasio Martinez’s reported order to spy on the court investigating Duque’s political patron, former President Alvaro Uribe, and forward this to the ruling party, triggered a crisis unseen since 2008.
Given the indisputable seriousness of the reports on the illegal monitoring and wiretapping of journalists, political leaders, senior officials and judges by Semana magazine, the Supreme Court of Justice calls for the use of maximum institutional effort to respond urgently, decisively and definitively to this threat to the country’s rule of law.
Uribe and Duque in the defense
While the prosecution announced 14 criminal investigation into spying allegations it previously discarded, Uribe announced that his defense attorney would be defending the former army chief.
Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo, who reportedly tried to stop a court-ordered raid on an army compound, told press that Duque had ordered that investigations ”begin” into the spying he already knew about months ago.
The National Government guarantees transparency and promotes that all necessary investigations of disciplinary, administrative, criminal and fiscal nature are carried out by the competent bodies in order to clarify the facts denounced by the Semana magazine.
Defense Minister Carlos Holmes Trujillo
‘Duque informed about spying half a year ago already’
Senator Roy Barreras, one of the reported victims, reiterated on Twitter that Duque and the prosecution knew about the spying months ago already.
I personally denounced these facts to the President of the Republic on July 6, 2019 and to the Prosecutor General’s Office on August 29. If they deny it, if they hide it, what guarantee is there that they will dismantle these devices?
Senator Roy Barreras
Barreras accused the government of trying to cover up the reported spying practices and to “recover confidence.”
The report by Semana and the Supreme Court’s discovery of listening devices in the office of the magistrate investigating Uribe threaten to cause an institutional crisis similar to when Duque’s political patron was president.
Several of Uribe’s former presidential aides and intelligence chiefs are in prison after Congress in 2009 found out that now-defunct intelligence agency DAS was conducting exactly the same criminal activities the army is accused of now.