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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Update on case against spy chief Jorge Noguera

Translated by the Colectivo de Abogados Jose Alvear Restrepo

As regards the case of the former Director of the DAS Jorge Noguera Cotes

The Attorney General¹s Office Should Proceed Quickly and Decisively

José Alvear Restrepo Lawyers¹ Collective
Corporación Colectivo de Abogados ³José Alvear Restrepo²
June 20, 2007
Bogotá, Colombia

The Attorney General of Colombia, Mario Iguarán Arana, had the legal
obligation of issuing a pronouncement on the case of Jorge Noguera by June
15, 2007. According to reliable sources of information, an arrest warrant
waits on his desk that will determine the legal status of Jorge Noguera
Cotes, former director of the Administrative Department of Security (DAS)
[1] and former consul in Milan.

Nevertheless, up to now, Attorney General Iguarán has yet to make a
statement, which cannot help but spread doubt as to what can be expected to
occur. One way or another this would reveal how from within the very
institutions in charge of administering justice all kinds of distractions
and erroneous arguments are employed in order to exhaust processes,
guarantee impunity, force the victims into silence, and guarantee a
profitable political or administrative career for the perpetrators
of the worst crimes against humanity.

Likewise, despite having the unrestricted support of the president who
appointed him DAS senior chief and then to a diplomatic post, the Colombian
system of justice cannot underestimate the gravity of the accusations lodged
against Jorge Noguera.

After so many leaks to the different mass media outlets, it has become
common knowledge that these processes being carried out by the Attorney
General¹s Office against the former DAS director demonstrate how
paramilitarism and corruption infiltrated this agency. Furthermore, in
addition to being lengthy files, these processes illustrate how the
institution ignored fundamental rights, violated constitutional guarantees,
and encouraged State-sponsored crime.

Jorge Noguera is presently implicated in several criminal investigations,
which is of public knowledge. It is also known that he was detained and then
subsequently released. (But not due to lack of evidence, rather to a
supposed jurisdictional error due to the constitutional privileges
protecting him as former DAS director.) Nonetheless, the investigations
against him remain open and concern the commission of grave crimes. He has
not only been implicated in carrying out a well proven electoral fraud along
the Colombian Caribbean coast (which in and of itself is of course grave
and questions the very legitimacy of the current presidential
administration), but he is also accused of administrative corruption in
several multimillion-dollar contracts, of having put the principal
intelligence agency to the service of the mafia and criminal gangs, of
having participated in carrying out a conspiracy against the Venezuelan
government (including the murder of Venezuelan state
prosecutor Danilo Anderson), and ­most grave of all- of supporting
paramilitary groups (including at least turning list over to these groups
with the names of unionists and leftwing leaders so they would be murdered,
which indeed was what occurred to a good number of them).

The case of Noguera is not just another case or an act repeated as a part of
a long record of crimes implicating the DAS¹s conduct. The case concerning
Jorge Noguera Cotes conclusively proves that in Co
lombia power has been used to attack and disregard the rights of the weakest
members of society. It is also the leading evidence of a sinister process
reaching its climax, when the worst crimes ­massacres, forced
disappearances, forced displacement, political persecution, the
dismembering of living human beings, and the sowing of generalized terror-
had been legitimized, permitted, tolerated, and employed by State
institutions as a political weapon. Bearing in mind the
DAS is responsible for the protection programs for social leaders,
unionists, and journalists, this becomes even more grave.

It is completely unacceptable that Jorge Noguera is still at liberty. The
Colombian justice system must determine the validity of the denunciations
and grave claims made by several former DAS officials turned prosecution
witnesses. If it fails to do so, these accusations will be diluted by
out-of-date excuses and shameful legal arguments meant to keep Noguera from
being duly processed and punished.

Considering the current political crisis in Colombia, the case against the
former DAS director is of vital importance for Colombia. Since we have
reached a point of exhaustion and extreme skepticism,
historically, politically and socially we as Colombians need to know the
real truth concerning all acts of national relevance committed, which have
been constantly manipulated, concealed, or given an erroneous treatment so
as to distort and falsify our country¹s historical memory.

Thus, nationally and internationally we must demand the Attorney General¹s
Office to act quickly and decisively so as to avoid impunity and guarantee
the truth to the victims, society, and the whole of humanity.

It should be stressed that such international organizations as the
International Federation of Human Rights (FIDH), the International Center
for Trade Union Rights (ICTUR), and the Taula Catalan
Organization for Peace and Human Rights in Colombia, have made
pronouncements concerning this case, requesting the Attorney General¹s
Office to be quick and effective in the handling of this case.

1 The Administrative Department of Security or DAS is the principal
intelligence agency in Colombia and also functions as the secret police. The
DAS undertakes strategic intelligence, criminal investigation, migratory
control, and the protection of senior leaders and persons under threat
(including human rights defenders, social leaders, unionists, and



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