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  • A mural in Bogota dedicated to journalist and activist Jaime Garzon.

    A mural in Bogota dedicated to journalist and activist Jaime Garzon. | Photo: EFE

Published 14 August 2018

A Colombian court proved DAS sub-director Jose Miguel Narvaez, was involved in the murder of journalist Jaime Garzon.

Jose Miguel Narvaez, sub-director of the disbanded Colombian intelligence agency the Administrative Department of Security (DAS for its Spanish acronym), was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murder of Colombian journalist, comedian, lawyer, and peace activist Jaime Garzon Tuesday.

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Jaime Garzon was murdered in Bogota by two hitmen on August 13, 1999. According to the investigations, Narvaez used his close relationship to former paramilitary chief Carlos Castaño Gil to request the murder of Garzon, who Narvaez considered an ally of now demobilized Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN).

After a two-year trial, the court contended that there was sufficient testimony to prove Narvaez's participation in Garzon's execution. 

According to local media, before his murder, Garzon revealed he had received death threats and visited paramilitary boss Angel Custodio Gaitan in a Bogota prison to beg for his life. Gaitan reportedly responded saying it would be complicated to stop Castaño's order.    

At the time of the murder, Narvez was a professor in Colombia's military school. Several former paramilitary bosses have accused Narvaez of giving lectures to paramilitary groups, including a class titled: "Why is it legal to kill a communist in Colombia?"

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Narvaez was appointed as sub-director of the DAS by former president Alvaro Uribe

In 2016 Narvaez was sentenced to eight years in prison for illegal wiretapping and tracing journalists, NGOs, and human rights defenders. He was also found guilty of writing a manual on how to threaten and intimidate the journalist Claudia Duque, who sought to gather evidence on the involvement of DAS in the Jaime Garzon's murder, mainly to avoid prosecution. 

In 2011, after a scandal for illegal wiretapping during the government of former president and current senator Alvaro Uribe, former Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos announced the dissolution of the DAS and its replacement by the National Intelligence Agency.  

In 2015, former DAS director Maria Pilar Hurtado was sentenced to 14 years in prison for illicit association, embezzlement, violation of communications, and abuse of authority. Two years later, Jorge Aurelio Noguera, also a former DAS director was sentenced to seven years in prison for persecuting journalists, social leaders, union leaders, politicians, and justices who opposed Alvaro Uribe.   

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