The legal problems of Colombia’s former President Alvaro Uribe aggravated Tuesday when a Bogota court ordered evidence of his alleged participation in the wiretapping of political opponents to be sent to the competent judicial authorities.
The ruling by the Bogota district court was part of the sentencing of one of Uribe’s top intelligence officials who was sentenced to eight years in prison for his role in the illegal wiretapping of the Supreme Court, human rights organizations, journalists and politicians who apparently posed a risk to his administration.
Congress’ Accusations Committee has been officially investigating Uribe since 2011 over the wiretapping scandal that has become known as the “Colombian Watergate.”
The scandal spurred major tensions between Uribe and the Supreme Court and the eventual dismantling of intelligence agency DAS.
The latest former intelligence official to be sentenced is Jose Miguel Narvaez, who already in prison for his extensive ties to paramilitary death squads.
Narvaez is one of the most controversial public officials employed by the Uribe administration and considered a key figure linking paramilitary organization AUC with Colombia’s political and business elites, a phenomenon known as “parapolitics.”
Enjoying intimate ties with the military, intelligence agencies and the paramilitaries, he was also a security adviser of ranchers federation Fedegan of Jose Felix Lafaurie, a close ally of Uribe and the husband of House Representative Maria Fernanda Cabal of Uribe’s Democratic Center Party.
Several AUC commanders have said Narvaez was one of their main representatives in the Uribe administration and allegedly behind the paramilitary killing of renowned journalist and comedian Jaime Garzon and the paramilitary kidnapping of former Senator Piedad Cordoba.
Narvaez was appointed by former DAS director Jorge Noguera who is currently serving a prison sentence for his own ties to the AUC. Uribe personally appointed Noguera when the former president took office in 2002.
The conviction of Narvaez, Colombia’s former assistant director of the now-defunct DAS intelligence agency further complicates the legal situation of the controversial former president who has seen numerous of his closest aides disappear behind bars because of widespread criminal activity carried our within the administration, particularly in regards to illegal wiretapping.
The court acknowledged that the testimonies given in Narvaez’ trial may provide further evidence of Uribe’s personal involvement in the illegal wiretapping practices.
The court stated that the testimonies may indicate the “possible criminal liability of former President Alvaro Uribe Velez for the persecution unleashed during his government and particularly in relation to this persecution of the DAS.”
The G-3 group of which Narvaez was found to be a participant was set up under Noguera and was assigned the primary responsibilities of monitoring human rights groups that had proven or could potential prove troublesome for President Uribe.
Under Noguera, a number of intelligence agents with strong ties to the paramilitary AUC were appointed who reported directly to the Presidential Palace.
Narvaez’ proven involvement in the G-3 group and thus close association with Alvaro Uribe could create something of a domino effect in relation to the investigations against the former President.
The court indicated that there is a crossover between cases and the relevant information from this trial will be forwarded to the relevant authorities investigating Uribe.
“Facts have established that illegal intelligence activity within the DAS was reported to the national government, which by then was chaired by Mr. Alvaro Uribe Velez (…) this report thereon follows the criteria established by the Superior Court of Bogota in the sense that for existing proceedings against the president, copies of this ruling will be forwarded to the competent authorities.”
In January this year, former Press Secretary Cesar Mauricio Velasquez and Judicial Secretary Edmundo del Castillo were convicted for being directly involved in the wiretapping carried out by intelligence agency DAS.
The two were already charged for a meeting with paramilitary representatives inside the presidential palace, also in 2008, to conspire to discredit the Supreme Court that was investigating Uribe’s cousin Mario, a former Senator, for his ties to paramilitary groups.
Uribe’s brother is currently on trial for allegedly founding a paramilitary group of his own in the 1990s while Uribe faces accusations he was involved in a paramilitary massacre.
Uribe has for years claimed himself to be victim of political persecution.
- Condenan a Narváez y compulsan copias contra Uribe por caso ‘chuzadas’ (El Tiempo)
- Ocho años de cárcel a exsubdirector del DAS José Miguel Narváez por ‘chuzadas’ (El Heraldo)
- Condenan a José Miguel Narváez, exsubdirector del DAS, por ‘chuzadas’ (W Radio)
- Condenan a José Miguel Narváez por interceptaciones ilegales en el DAS (El Espectador)