The Prosecutor General Wednesday charged the ex-director of Colombian intelligence agency DAS and former President Alvaro Uribe’s chief of staff for ordering the illegal wiretapping of government opponents.
According to Prosecutor General Viviane Morales, former DAS director Maria del Pilar Hurtado and former chief of staff Bernardo Moreno ordered the spying on supreme court judges, journalists, human rights workers and opposition politicians.
Both officials were charged with conspiracy, the illegal interception of communication, abuse of public power and fraud.
In addition, Del Piliar Hurtado is charged with embezzlement and falsifying a public document.
Morales charged the former DAS director for conspiracy for allegedly organizing the illegal operation against magistrates, journalists and the political opposition in September of 2007. The prosecutor general also accused Del Pilar Hurtado of ordering the illegal interception and recording of persons close to Senator Piedad Cordoba and Gustavo Petro as well as using DAS funds to pay her sources.
For his part, the prosecutor general says Bernardo Moreno ordered the illegal wiretapping of known victims as well as sessions of the Supreme Court Justice.
Moreno, who was present at the hearing, plead not guilty to the charges.
Del Pilar Hurtado wasn’t present as she fled the country last year and received political asylum in Panama.
Prosecutor General Morales requested the immediate detention of the former DAS head and the Uribe chief of staff. A judge will make a decision May 24 as to whether the two will be ordered detained. In the case of Del Pilar Hurtado additional measures through Interpol will need to be taken to request her extradition from Panama. The Panamanian government has spoken publicly reiterating her right to asylum in the country.
The illegal wiretapping by DAS officials caused a major scandal for the Uribe administration as several of his closest aides were suspended or criminally investigated. Uribe himself is also being investigated by a Congressional committee. The DAS is currently being dismantled.