The president of Colombia’s Supreme Court, Jaime Arrubla, called on President Alvaro Uribe to substantiate his allegations, after the president accused an unnamed “higher body” of pressuring a judge to order the arrest of a government official on illegal wiretap charges, reports CM&.
On Tuesday, Uribe expressed outrage at the “unjust” arrest of Mario Aranguren, the director of the Colombian government’s Financial Information and Analysis Unit (UIAF), on charges of participating in DAS’s illegal wiretapping activities. The president said that this creates a “lack of confidence” in the country’s justice system.
“To give an order to a judge is a crime,” Arrubla responded. “In Colombia, judges are independent, no one can influence their decisions. Because of that, what the president said [yesterday] cannot remain out in the open like that, it delegitimizes the institution.”
Arrubla added that he respects the decision of the judge to order the arrest of the former UIAF director, because there was sufficient cause.
“According to the prosecution, Dr. Aranguren went beyond his powers, he exceeded them, and for that he is now caught up in this. We [the Supreme Court] have nothing to do with this investigation, but we are still monitoring its outcome,” Arrubla said.
In February Colombia’s Inspector General Alejandro Ordoñez announced that Aranguren was suspected of instructing UIAF officials to attend a meeting on April 24, 2008, where “restricted information was supplied,” to President Alvaro Uribe‘s personal secretary Bernardo Moreno.
This forms part of an ongoing investigation into illegal surveillance and wiretapping of judges, journalists and trade unionists undertaken by Colombian intelligence agency DAS.