Colombia: former intelligence chief gets 25 years for paramilitary collaboration
On Sept. 14, Colombia's Supreme Court of Justice condemned Jorge Noguera Cotes, director of the Administrative Security Department (DAS) from 2002-5, to 25 years in prison for allowing right-wing paramilitary groups access to sensitive intelligence, leading to at least three assassinations of left-wing dissidents. He was convicted on charges of criminal conspiracy, illegal use of privileged information, and homicide. The most prominent of the victims was Alfredo Correa de Andreis, a sociologist and human rights activists gunned down by masked men on a motorbike in Barranquilla in September 2004.
Noguera headed the DAS during the first term of President Álvaro Uribe Vélez, and was considered his close confidant. He was later named Colombian consul in Milan, Italy, before being detained in 2007 on charges of collaborating with the illegal paramilitary network.
Another former DAS chief, Maria del Pilar Hurtado, and Uribe's former chief of staff, Bernardo Moreno, are facing trial over allegedly ordering wiretaps of government opponents. Hurtado is currently in Panama, where she has been granted asylum. The DAS answers only to the president, but Uribe has repeatedly denied issuing any orders that violated the law or the constitution. (The Guardian, BBC News, El Tiempo, Bogotá, Terra, Colombia, Sept. 14)
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