Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Colombian officials charged with wiretapping

alertnet.org
BOGOTA, Jan 26 (Reuters) - Colombia said on Tuesday that seven intelligence officials would stand trial, charged with wiretapping human right workers, journalists and opposition politicians in a scandal that has hurt the government's image. Critics of President Alvaro Uribe say his government has misused the Administrative Security Department, known by its Spanish initials DAS, which reports directly to his office and has been plagued by accusations of corruption.

"The facts of the case occurred in 2004 and 2005, when the accused organized the G3 group, which was dedicated to committing crimes against human rights organizations, their leaders, journalists and political leaders," state prosecutor Claudia Almeida told a news conference. Among those charged is former agency deputy director Jose Narvaez.

Uribe was first elected in 2002 on promises of crushing a decades-old leftist insurgency financed by the cocaine trade. His government has been bruised by the wiretapping scandal and another in which soldiers are accused of murdering civilians in order to win promotions and bonuses by passing the victims' bodies off as guerrillas killed in combat.

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