Colombia’s prosecutor general on Wednesday night called four senior aides of President Alvaro Uribe for interrogation in connection with the wiretap scandal surrounding presidential security agency DAS.
Prosecutor General Guillermo Mendoza told RCN Radio that former presidential advisors Jose Obdulio Gaviria and Jorge Mario Eastman (the latter of whom is now vice defense minister); presidential press secretary Cesar Mauricio Velasquez; and presidential legal secretary Edmundo de Castillo would be called for questioning before the Supreme Court.
Mendoza clarified that the call for questioing was not intended to signify an accusation or order for arrest. He explained that the purpose of the meeting will be to hear their version of events and determine whether there are grounds to make charges against the four for their involvement in the scandal.
Presidency officials have been mentioned in reports of secret meetings with the DAS seen by the prosecution.
Investigations seek to establish, among other things, if the presidency was aware of the illegal activities or whether they were carried out independently by DAS. The four senior officials have previously been accused by former DAS members of playing a significant role in the scandal.
It is not the first time people close to President Uribe have been called for questioning over the wiretap scandal. Uribe’s personal secretary Bernardo Moreno was called to the stand and will testify on July 14. The president has consistently denied any involvement in the scandal, claiming that he himself was a victim of DAS infiltration.
A total of 18 DAS officials, as well as four of its former directors, are being investigated for their involvement in the wiretap scandal, in which espionage was carried out against judges, foreign dignitaries, opposition politicians and human rights activists, as well as journalists. The scandal, uncovered last year, has reached as far as the Ecuadorean government and former Iranian Nobel Prize winner Shirin Ebadi.