BOGOTA – A former director of Colombia’s DAS intelligence agency has turned himself in after the Attorney General’s Office ordered his arrest in connection with the 1989 assassination of reformist presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan.
Miguel Maza Marquez surrendered late Tuesday at a DAS academy.
Prosecutors say Maza Marquez made changes to Liberal Party hopeful Galan’s security detail just hours before he was killed on Aug. 18, 1989, at a campaign rally in the Bogota suburb of Soacha.
One of the slain politician’s sons, Sen. Juan Manuel Galan, said his family received the news of the arrest with a sense of calm.
“We received this news with serenity,” the relative said, adding that he trusts “the Colombian justice system has the will and capacity to do justice” in this case.
Since early Tuesday, top officials with the AG office have been analyzing the legal issues surrounding this case to prevent any potential indictments from being blocked by the statute of limitations.
But no time limit would apply for initiating legal proceedings if the AG office determines Galan’s murder to be a crime against humanity.
The investigation into Maza Marquez, who was a presidential candidate himself after leaving the DAS, began about a month ago, when then-Attorney General Mario Iguaran said there was sufficient evidence to summon him for questioning.
Former fighters with the ostensibly demobilized AUC paramilitary federation have said in sworn statements that Maza Marquez played a key role in Galan’s murder. But, according to prosecutors, testimony by erstwhile warlord Ernesto Baez giving details of the ex-DAS official involvement in the slaying carried the most weight.
Politicians and drug kingpins are suspected of planning and instigating the still-unsolved murder, among them former Sen. Alberto Santofimio Botero and late Medellin cartel chief Pablo Escobar.
Galan was the favorite in the 1990 presidential election; his campaign manager, Cesar Gaviria Trujillo, won the balloting following his murder. EFE