Colombian President Álvaro Uribe is behind the continuous wiretapping
of judges, media bosses and opposition politicians by the country’s
intelligence service DAS as revealed by weekly Semana, opposition
senator Gustavo Petro said Saturday.
The wiretapping scandal was brought to light by magazine Semana that quoted several officials within the security department. The agents stated the service was still illegally wiretapping judges of the Supreme Court that are involved in the investigation of politicians involved with death squads, directors of several national media and opposition politicians like Gustavo Petro.
The opposition senator had earlier denounced he was being shadowed, which cost the job of the former DAS director and was explained as the error of one individual security official. According to the findings of Semana, the wiretapping of Petro was not an incident and continued even after the DAS changed directors.
“We are facing a police state-like government that has destroyed the space of democracy, that doesn’t respect the values and the principles of democracy and of our constitution. It has used the police to destroy the opposition and not to destroy crime,” a furious Petro told newspaper El Espectador in reaction to the news.
“ït’s beyond any doubt that the order comes from the president, who is a person that doesn’t have democratic values and because he has a large public support that he uses to destroy the little that is left of democracy.” the Senator added.
Petro demands Uribe to explain why he “is investigating the democratic opposition in Colombia, a free press and those who do not think like him, like those that think he should be investigating criminals, of which most, on the contrary, are invited to the presidential palace to talk to his officials.”
DAS director Felipe Muños Gómez told Caracol Radio that “quite clearly there’s a mafia network who is trying to attack the national security” and “rejects in every possible way such actions that go against the right of privacy.”
It is not the first time the DAS came under fire for illegally investigating or paramilitary infiltration. Former DAS director Maria del Pilar Hurtado was forced to resign in October 2008 and her predecessor is in currently in jail for alleged ties to death squads who, on his order, were killing union leaders.
Muñoz Gómez denies asked both the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office to form an elite investigation team to investigate the matter.