NEWS: Former Director of Administrative Security Department (DAS) sentenced  

 

October 2011

 

 

Jorge Aurelio Norguera Former Director of Colombia’s National Intelligence Agency (DAS) sentenced for murder of Human rights defender Alfredo Correa de Andreis

 

Former Director of the National Intelligence Agency (Administrative Security Department-DAS), Jorge Aurelio Norguera, was ordered to pay a fine of $1.9 million and sentenced to 25 years in prison by Colombia’s Supreme Court of Justice for his ties with right-wing paramilitary groups and his involvement in the murder of a human rights worker and prominent sociologist Alfredo Correa de Andreis in 2004.

 

Alfredo Correa de Andreis worked with displaced persons and had been investigating the illegal activities of right-wing paramilitary groups. Mr. Correa de Andreis was detained and questioned by the DAS, not long after this happened he was assassinated. According to testimony given by a former senior DAS deputy Mr. Noguera helped to coordinate the assassination.


The prosecution stated that Mr. Norguera had passed lists of human rights defenders and trade unionists to paramilitary leaders for assassination. In addition to collaborating with paramilitaries,  the DAS under Mr. Noguera’s watch is alleged to have systematically and without warrant tapped the phones and emails of Colombia’s major human rights groups, journalists, the political opposition and even Supreme Court magistrates. As well as, conducting illegal surveillance against defenders and their families, the DAS files also revealed that operations were carried out that sought to hinder defenders work, restrict their international travel, threaten and bring baseless prosecutions against them. The objective, according to an internal DAS document, was to “neutralize and restrict” the work of defenders’.  Mr Noguera was also found to have destroyed DAS documents and evidence. [1]


Before his appointment as the Director of the DAS by former Presdent Uribe, Mr.Noguera had worked on the election campaign for Mr. Uribe. When he left the DAS Mr. Uribe appointed him as Consul in Italy, as the criminal investigation opened into his illegal activities in the DAS.


Also under investigation are Mr. Uribe’s chief of staff, Bernardo Moreno, another ex-director of the DAS, María del Pilar Hurtado and several officials. María del Pilar Hurtado upon learning of the investigation fled to Panama where she was granted asylum. Colombia is currently seeking her extradition in connection with the surveillance of human rights activists, journalists and judges during her time as DAS director.

 

The DAS scandal revealed the broader targeting and persecution of human rights defenders in Colombia under Mr. Uribe; Colombian state and government officials regularly discredited defenders’ work in public, accusing them of having ties to guerrilla groups or being motivated by political gain. The investigation by the DAS of Alfredo Correa de Andreis for supposed links to the Frente 59 of the guerrilla group FARC, was revealed to have been an attempt by the intelligence agency to frame him on a baseless charge.

 

Baseless criminal charges are brought against defenders using false and uncorroborated information from military and police intelligence files. In the context of the armed conflict, this has created an environment of hostility, in which waves of assassinations, forced disappearances, sexual attacks, death threats, raids and the theft of sensitive information have occurred.

 

Notes:

 

[1] see Climate of Fear here

 

 

 

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