Ex-DAS official accused of ordering the assassination of Jaime Garzón in 1999
On May 20, Attorney General Eduardo Montealegre asked the courts to start proceedings against José Miguel Narváez for his alleged involvement in the murder of Jaime Garzón in August 1999.
Narváez is the former number two of DAS, Colombia’s now disbanded intelligence service.
The court has yet to rule on the top prosecutor’s request that Narvaez be charged in the 16-year-old murder.
The ex-DAS official has always denied the allegations and says he has never met with anyone affiliated with paramilitary groups.
Garzón was gunned down by two men on a motorcycle near Bogota’s Corferias events centre while he was stopped at a red light in his car.
Jaime Garzón´s death was extremely shocking for many Colombians, not only because he was a very popular comedian and a political satirist during the 1980s and 1990s, but also because some people felt that his murder exemplified the corruption and manipulation within the justice system.
According to an analysis published by El Espectador in the course of the investigation into Garzón´s murder, just a few hours after the crime, the DAS had already created a sophisticated conspiracy that involved false witnesses and obstruction of justice.
While many were investigated, only one person was condemned – Carlos Castaño, founder of the United Self-Defence Forces of Colombia (AUC), an extreme paramilitary organisation. In April 2000, Castaño was sentenced in absentia to 38 years in prison and given a $790 million COP fine. However, he was never captured and died in April 2004.
Narvaez is now being charged on the basis of testimony from a jailed AUC member who alleges that he ordered Castaño to kill Garzón. He has been accused of instigating the assassination, expressing at that time that Garzon was a guerrilla supporter.
Narváez is involved in several other investigations: such as the murder of Senator Manuel Cepeda in 1994, the kidnapping of the Congresswoman Piedad Córdoba in 1999, provision of instruction for the AUC paramilitary group, creation of a manual with detailed instructions as to how to infiltrate groups such as the FARC and ELN, and the DAS phone-tapping between 2003 and 2005.
By Charlotte Mackenzie