Colombian defender of human right Piedad Córdoba said on Friday that the public trial of former subdirector of the Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad (DAS – Administrative Security Department), José Miguel Narváez, demonstrates the truth of charges she has made for years concerning links between paramilitaries and the government.
“The link between the paramilitaries and the government, through DAS, is confirmed, there is overwhelming proof,” Córdoba declared in an interview granted to TeleSUR.
She added, “I participated in a series of meetings where paramilitary chiefs, like Don Bernán, for example, admitted who had ordered my kidnapping.”
On Friday, Narváez was called by the Colombian attorney general’s Unidad Nacional de Derechos Humanos [National Human Rights Unit] and Derecho Internacional Humanitaria [International Humanitarian Law] department to give testimony concerning the kidnapping of Piedad Córdoba by paramilitaries on May 21, 1999.
Narváez’s involvement in the case was disclosed after Iván Laverde Zapata, known as “El Iguano,” formerly of the AUC [Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia – United Self-Defense of Colombia], named him independently.
“El Iguano” said Narváez had taken recordings to the then head of the paramilitary, Carlos Castaño, in which Piedad Córdoba is heard in a conversation with Francisco Galán, former spokesman for the Ejército de Liberación Nacional (ELN), the motive for Córdoba’s abduction.
The human rights defender stated as well that all these actions are intended to cause the disappearance of the Colombian democratic left.
Likewise, Piedad Córdoba’s lawyer, Eduardo Carreño, told TeleSUR, “There is sufficient evidence to demonstrate a commitment by the Colombian government to attacks on negotiators for peace and human rights.”
Carreño urged Narváez to “confess at last his ties to the paramiltary structure and the crimes it is involved in.”
“If he does not do that we will have to wait for the paramilitary spokesmen to show the real proof of who ordered the attempt against Piedad Córdova,” the legal representative declared.
The human rights negotiator was taken captive in Medellín on May 21, 1999, by order of Carlos Castaño, then head of the Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, who has since vanished, who had proposed killing the prisoner.
A national and international pressure campaign in support of Córdoba led Castaño to free the senator, safe and sound, on June 4 of the same year.
Narváez was subdirector of DAS from 2002 to 2006, during a large part of the administration of Jorge Noguera as director of the organization, a dependency of the presidency of the republic, a position to which he was named by former President Álvaro Uribe (2002-2010).
Like Narváez and several other former officials of DAS, Noguera is in custody in Bogotá by order of the supreme court, which tried him and brought him to justice because of ties with the paramilitary.
They are charged as well with conspiracy, illegal use of communications, illegal use of transmitting equipment and receivers, falsifying documents by destruction and abuse of authority.
The charges are related to the campaign of eavesdropping and surveillance of magistrates, opposition politicians, journalists and human rights defenders undertaken by DAS in concert with Uribe’s two administrations.