Colombia: sentencing of senior DAS official and of ex-president Uribe’s chief of staff for illegal spying is a victory

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Brussels, 30 st of April 2015. FIDH, Oxfam Solidariteit, OIDHACO, Broederlijk Delen and CNCD-11.11.11 expressed satisfaction at the sentencing of María del Pilar Hurtado, ex-Director of the Department of Administrative Security (DAS), and Bernardo Moreno, the President’s former Chief of Staff, to prison terms of 14 years and 8 years respectively by the Colombian Supreme Court of Justice today.

“This exemplary sentencing of two top Colombian officials confirms the existence of a system of espionage, persecution, harassment and threats against opponents, judges, journalists and human rights defenders, designed and organised at the highest levels of Alvaro Uribe Vélez’s government,” commented the organisations. “We shall continue to fight to uncover the truth about the criminal acts committed by the DAS in Colombia, as well as in Belgium and Europe, and to ensure that all those implicated in this case are brought to trial and convicted,” they added.

These illegal activities happened also outside Colombia. Indeed, in 2011, during the criminal proceedings that culminated in the conviction of Mr Germán Villalba Chávez, ex-Subdirector of Human ressources at DAS, he admitted the presence of a spy network in Europe intended to shadow human rights defenders and NGOs. The 5 signatory organisations are among the victims of the espionage and monitoring activities carried out by the DAS in Brussels and Belgium, where a criminal case is currently underway. In these proceedings, a letter rogatory was sent to the Colombian Public Prosecutor in 2011, but has yet to be executed. “We expect the Colombian judiciary to cooperate with their Belgian peers and to execute this letter rogatory. That would constitute proof of the Colombian state’s willingness to combat impunity,” stated the organisations.

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