Colombian Wiretapping Scandal Continues to Haunt Ex-President Alvaro Uribe

Colombian Wiretapping Scandal Continues to Haunt Ex-President Alvaro Uribe
Fecha de publicación: 
22 January 2016
Imagen principal: 

Over 20 officials and aides of former President Alvaro Uribe have already been charged for being involved in a major wiretapping scheme.  

Two more officials who worked under former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe have been arrested and charged with wiretapping members of the Supreme Court, journalists, human rights workers and other politicians while they were in office.

Former Press Secretary Cesar Mauricio Velasquez and Judicial Secretary Edmundo del Castillo are the latest to be charged in a massive wiretapping scandal, which was overseen by Colombia's DAS intelligence agency and delivered information directly to then President Uribe while he was in office (2002-2010).

The right-wing Uribe, whose time in office was marred by human rights scandals, was a close ally of Washington.

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According to the prosecution, there is enough evidence to convict the two former officials. If found guilty, they could join the more than 20 top presidential aides and intelligence officials who have already been sentenced to prison for their involvement in the scheme.

Velasquez and Castillo both “knew and participated in illegal activities carried out by the intelligence agencies of the state and contributed effectively in the pursuit of a criminal purpose,” read a statement by the Supreme Court.

The Colombian Congress has also been investigating Uribe’s role in the illegal surveillance since early 2013.

Uribe took to social media Tuesday to protest the arrest of his former officials, calling it an “injustice” adding that they “did not kill, steel or intercept” anything.

“Edmundo and Cesar Mauricio did not kill or steel or intercept. The following on interceptions.”    

Both Velasquez and Castillo are already facing charges for working with paramilitary groups in 2008, while working in Uribe's administration. The two are accused of conspiring with paramilitaries – also known as death squads – to discredit the Supreme Court, which was investigating Uribe's cousin and then Senator for his ties with paramilitary groups.

Uribe's cousin was one of more than 60 Congressmen who have been convicted for having ties with the paramilitary group the United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia, known by its spanish acronym AUC, which have been responsible for numerous human rights abuses in the country. Most of these politicians were members of the coalition supporting Uribe.

The groups were technically demobilized between 2003 and 2006 under an agreement with Uribe's administration, however they continue to exist across the country.

Former President Alvaro Uribe has himself been accused of involvement in a wiretapping scheme and being connected to paramilitaries

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