Knight Center
Knight Center


Former Colombian intelligence officers go to prison for “psychological torture” of journalist

A Colombian prosecutor with the human rights unit ordered the arrest of seven former officials with the country’s intelligence center who are being accused of psychological torture against a journalist, Caracol Radio’s news portal reported. In 2003 and 2004, journalist Claudia Julieta Duque Orrego filed a complaint against the officials of the former Administrative Department of Security, or DAS, claiming she had been a victim of threats and persecution because of her work, the portal added.

The DAS, the country’s chief intelligence unit, ceased to exist when President Juan Manuel Santos signed a decree that dissolved the organism after the “chuzadas”, a phone tapping scandal that targeted journalists, members of the Supreme Court of Justice, politicians and other high-profile individuals in Colombia.

During the attorney general’s investigation of the facilities of the DAS, authorities found the document “Handbook on threatening,” which Duque Ortega had already reported on, newspaper El Espectador said. The document gave a step-by-step explanation of how the journalist was to be intimidated,with specifics like the place from which to make threatening phone calls to how to speak, El Espectador and Semana magazine said.

For the attorney general, the journalist was a victim of non-stop harassment from the DAS after her investigation on the killing of Colombian journalist Jaime Garzón, through which she singled out several government officials who have derailed an investigation to uncover the intellectual and material authors of the crime, reported Radio Santafé.

For the first time, the attorney general’s office followed international protocols and typified “aggravated psychological torture” as a crime, newspaper El Tiempo reported. The former officials, which include a one of the agency’s high-ranking officials, had their first hearing in December 2011, the newspaper added.

In her Twitter account, the journalist said, “I have waited many years for this news. Today I’m a little closer to the possibility of justice.”


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