Saturday, March 22, 2008

Privacy of Communications in Colombia

In May 2007, Colombian President Alvaro Uribe revealed that an elite police intelligence unit had conducted a two years long illegal wiretapping operation against journalists, opposition figures and government members.

The government of Uribe accepted responsibility and announced that the attorney general's office would open an investigation. It remains unknown who ordered the wiretaps, which individuals were monitored and what was the purpose of the operation. But a few names have emerged.

Carlos Gaviria, who ran second to Uribe in the last presidential election, was among those whose phone calls were intercepted. Gaviria is a former Constitutional Court magistrate and had been dean and teacher of the Law Faculty of the University of Antioquia. Among his former students figures President Uribe. In May 2006, Gaviria achieved the largest vote ever for a leftist party in Colombia, with about 22 percent of the vote for the Colombian presidency.

"The procedure is totally unacceptable, illegal and contrary to the policy of the government," Minister of Defense Juan Manuel Santos said about the affair. Santos has suggested that National Police had mounted a rogue operation. Read fullstory

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