BOGOTA – The Colombian Inspector General’s Office said Wednesday it has called President Alvaro Uribe to testify as part of a probe into illegal wiretapping and spying directed at journalists, opposition politicians, Supreme Court judges and other public figures.
As part of its investigation into former directors of the DAS security service and more than a dozen other former or current officials at that agency, the IG office has summoned Uribe and acting Supreme Court Chief Justice Jaime Arrubla to appear as witnesses.
The IG office said it will question Uribe to determine how information was handled and how the work carried out by DAS, which answers to the president’s office, was coordinated.
Arrubla, meanwhile, will be quizzed to shed light on how the wiretapping was conducted, who was affected and how the magistrates found out they were being spied upon.
Leftist presidential candidate Gustavo Petro – who was a target of the spying – and current DAS director Felipe Muñoz also have been called as witnesses.
Efe learned in February that the IG office was investigating presidential chief of staff Bernardo Moreno and two other senior aides to Uribe, as well as several former DAS directors, in connection with the illegal spying.
The Colombian Attorney General’s Office also has summoned Moreno predecessor Maria del Pilar Hurtado to testify as part of the wiretapping probe.
A total of 18 DAS officials or ex-officials and four of its erstwhile directors are under investigation in connection with the unlawful spying, which also targeted prominent foreigners such as the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003, Iran’s Shirin Ebadi, and Human Rights Watch’s director for the Americas, Chile’s Jose Miguel Vivanco.
Uribe has said repeatedly that he never instructed DAS to conduct illegal wiretaps, but witnesses have told the AG office that the spying orders came from the presidential palace. EFE