Former Colombian DAS intelligence director jailed for four years over spying

A Bogota court has sentenced a former director of intelligence of the former Colombian secret services (Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad, DAS), Laude José Fernández Arroyo, to four years in jail for the crime of conspiracy against the Avianca airline union when Fernández was working for a security company.

However, the ruling includes the statute of limitations for the crime of illegal violation of communications that he had been charged with.

Specifically, Fernandez has been convicted for the interception of communications of captains Jorge Mario Medina, Jaime Hernandez and Julian Pinzo, leaders of the 2017 pilots’ strike. The ‘chuzadas’ affected not only these leaders of the Colombian Association of Civil Aviators (ACDAC), but also their families, including minors.

Fernández, who was then legal representative of the multinational Berkeley Research Group (BRG) in Colombia, a company dedicated to providing security to large companies, participated in the ‘chuzadas’ that were made from the ‘Esperanza’ platform of the Attorney General’s Office to intercept communications.

Thus, it influenced the Attorney General’s Office to carry out the illegal interceptions, taking advantage of its contracts with Avianca and Grupo de Energía de Bogotá.

The former intelligence director of the DAS signed a pre-agreement with the Attorney General’s Office in which he acknowledged his responsibility in the crimes of aggravated conspiracy to commit a crime as perpetrator in heterogeneous concurrence and illicit violation of communications. However, this last fact is time-barred.

In the negotiation he acknowledged that Avianca and Grupo de Energía de Bogotá hired him at the time to perform tasks related to corporate intelligence. The judge has denied him the benefit of house arrest, so he must remain deprived of his liberty in a prison.

The Colombian DAS was disbanded in 2011 largely due to the so-called ‘chuzadas’ scandal in which illegal wiretapping and interception of communications of judges, journalists, opposition politicians and human rights defenders in collaboration with paramilitary organizations was demonstrated.

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