By Patrick Vanderpool
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
BOGOTA, Colombia – Former head of Colombia’s DAS security agency and retired military general Miguel Maza Marquez was arrested for the 1989 assassination of presidential candidate Luis Carlos Galan. The arrest comes days after Colombian prosecutors issued an arrest warrant for the 73-year-old Maza Marquez. Maza Marquez is officially charged with murder for terrorist purposes and a crime against humanity.
Maza Marquez had beens arrested last December in connection with the assassination; however, he was released in April after the prosecution failed to meet the indictment deadline. Prosecutors began to revive the case in September.
Daniel Suarez, Maza Marquez’ attorney, told Caracol Radio that Maza Marquez “has no interest in evading justice” and would “immediately” turn himself in following the indictment. Maza Marquez has steadfastly asserted his innocence.
The DAS domestic security agency that Maza Marquez was in charge of provides bodyguards for politicians, human rights activists and others, including Galan. Prosecutors in the case claim that Maza Marquez made changes to Galan’s security detail mere hours before the candidate was killed at a campaign rally in the Bogota suburb of Soacha on August 18, 1989.
Former officials with the demobilized AUC paramilitary federation have said in sworn statements that Maza Marquez played a central role in Galan’s murder. According to the prosecution, additional evidence “points to the participation of several state servants who, like the retired general, learned in advance of the attack being planned against the presidential candidate and, instead of averting it, aided in its commission.”
Galan’s presidential campaign was a crusade against Pablo Escobar and other drug lords who essentially controlled Colombia through violence, killing hundreds of judges, journalists and police in a bid to avoid extradition. It is theorized that the assassination was carried out primarily due to instigation from politicians and drug kingpins.
Galan was the favorite to win the election and would have likely been elected President had it not been for his untimely death.
For more information, please see:
www.poliblogger.com – Arrest Warrant Issued for ex-DAS Chief in Galan Assassination – 27 November 2010
Latin American Herald Tribune – Colombia Charges Former Spy Chief in 1989 Assassination – 26 November 2010
Washington Post – Colombian ex-Police Chief Charged in Killing – 25 November 2010