Jorge Noguera, former head of Colombia’s Department of Administrative Security (DAS) under President Alvaro Uribe, was arrested Feb. 22. He is accused of handing over a hit list of human rights workers and trade union activists to the right-wing paramilitaries. A number of the people on the list later were killed. Noguera, who as a regional campaign chief helped get Uribe elected in 2002, was arrested as he gave testimony in the chief prosecutor’s office, according to his lawyer. If convicted, he faces up to 40 years in prison.
Noguera, who has been questioned by prosecutors at least five times, denies any wrongdoing. He is being investigated in the murder of university professor Alfredo Correa de Andreis, one of the names on the hit list. Correa was investigating the forced displacement of peasants from rich lands along the Caribbean coast that were then seized by the paramilitaries. (AP, Feb. 23)