Colombia officials to retire due to illegal tapped calls

Colombia's police chief and the head of police intelligence were forced to retire as the government alleged that police illegally tapped calls of opposition political figures, journalists and members of the government for the past two years.

 Colombia officials to retire due to illegal tapped calls
In the biggest shake-up in years of the security forces, Colombia's police chief and the head of police intelligence were forced to retire as the government alleged that police illegally tapped calls of opposition political figures, journalists and members of the government for the past two years.

The scandal multiplied U.S.-ally President Alvaro Uribe's woes on a day judicial authorities also ordered the arrest of 20 politicians and business leaders, including five congressmen, on criminal conspiracy charges for signing a 2001 pact with illegal right-wing militias.

"The procedure is totally unacceptable, illegal and contrary to the policy of the government," Minister of Defense Juan Manuel Santos said in a statement.

Santos also said the government had asked for and received the resignations of Gen. Jorge Daniel Castro, the national police chief, and Gen. Guillermo ChaveZ, his intelligence boss.

The statement did not specify whose phones had been tapped.

Gen. Oscar Naranjo, head of the judicial police, was named the new national police director. Naranjo has worked closely with U.S. drug enforcement and intelligence agencies against the country's drug cartels.

Naranjo's promotion means another 10 police generals above him will have to resign to make way according to the institution's hierarchy system, said a police spokesman.

While respected inside and out of Colombia, Naranjo has had his own embarrassments. Earlier this month a German court sentenced his younger brother to 5 1/2 years in prison for transporting 172 pounds of cocaine.

The wiretapping scandal broke over the weekend when news magazines reported the interception of phone conversations that supposedly showed jailed far-right warlords, who surrendered under a peace pact, continuing to commit crimes behind bars.

Following a probe into the recordings, the government said it discovered that members of the police's intelligence service were responsible. It said it further determined that other people — who were not under criminal investigation — had also had their calls wiretapped for the past couple of years.
Last Mod: 15 Mayıs 2007, 14:45
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