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  HOME | Colombia (Click here for more)

Colombia Former Spy Chief to Face Trial

BOGOTA – The former head of Colombia’s DAS security service has been indicted on seven charges, including colluding with right-wing militias in the killings of a university professor, a politician and two labor leaders.

According to local media, it is the first time the federal Attorney General’s Office has formally charged Jorge Noguera with the murder of university professor Alfredo Correa D’Andreis – slain in the northern city of Barranquilla in 2004 – and journalist Zully Sether Codina Perez.

According to Colombian newsweekly Semana, Correa D’Andreis – a professor at two universities in Barranquilla and a human rights activist – was detained without evidence on charges of being a ideologue of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, guerrilla group.

After his release from custody, he was killed on a street in that northern city on September 2004 by members of the AUC paramilitary federation, the magazine said. Last August, demobilized militiaman Juan Carlos Rodriguez de Leon confessed to the killing.

The AG’s office accused Noguera in the indictment of having direct links to the paramilitaries and putting the DAS at their service, Semana reported.

Bogota daily El Tiempo, meanwhile, said Noguera also will face trial for the murders of politician Fernando Pisciotti and labor leader Adam Pacheco.

Other charges include criminal conspiracy for issuing orders to help and protect paramilitary chieftains such as Hernan Giraldo and Rodrigo Tovar Pupo, alias “Jorge 40,” both of whom have been extradited to the United States to face drug-trafficking charges.

Noguera also must respond in court to accusations that as DAS director he fired a subordinate who refused to hand over documents to Tovar and that he impeded operations against the paramilitaries.

Noguera, currently jailed at Bogota’s La Picota prison, ran DAS from 2002-2005, when accusations about ties to the AUC prompted him to resign and accept an appointment as Colombian consul-general in Milan, Italy.

Since more than 31,000 AUC fighters demobilized between the end of 2003 and mid-2006 as part of a peace process with President Alvaro Uribe’s rightist administration, a great deal of information about their infiltration into different sectors of public life has come to light.

Testimony by demobilized militiamen revealed links to politicians, most of them allies of Uribe, and showed how high-ranking army officers provided the AUC with information that resulted in massacres of peasants.

The AUC encompassed the peasant defense cooperatives created more than 20 years ago to combat leftist guerrillas, but over time many of the rightist militias turned into drug-trafficking death squads blamed for some of the worst atrocities of Colombia’s decades-old conflict, including scores of massacres of suspected rebel sympathizers.

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