After a 19-year investigation, a judge sentenced a senior official to 30 years in prison and a fine of 500 minimum monthly salaries
After 19 years of impunity, José Miguel Narváez, former deputy director of the Administrative Department of Security (DAS, in Spanish), was sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murder of Jaime Garzón, which occurred on August 13, 1999.
According to Kien y Ke news, the testimonies given to the justice by alias 'Don Berna' were final so that the seventh criminal judge of the Specialized Circuit of Bogota determined in his sentence that, without a doubt, Narváez would have suggested to the paramilitary Carlos Castaño to murder the humorist.
"Carlos tells me to call Negro Elkin to talk to him (sic), we meet him (...) Narváez retires and Carlos says he will make the decision to kill him (Garzón)," he said. Don Berna according to the newspaper El Espectador, added without hesitation, that Narváez "was the determinant of the death of Jaime Garzón".
In addition to his sentence, Narváez will have to pay around 390 million Colombian pesos to the Garzón family for "moral damages".
Since 2014, the Office of the Prosecutor has tried to prove that, at the end of the 90s, members of the Public Force in alliance with paramilitary groups tried to get rid of human rights defenders. Narváez condemnation is one more proof of this thesis.
Crime against humanity
After the historic decision, the lawyer of the Garzón family, Sebastián Escobar, celebrated the decision but said that he will ask the Superior Court of Bogotá to reconsider the decision issued by the Seventh Special Criminal Judge of Bogotá on not considering the murder as a crime against humanity.
Although the Office of the Prosecutor had already declared Garzón's murder a crime against humanity, the Court abstained from doing so. In the sentence, it was specified, according to El Colombiano, that the homicide was a personal nuisance in front of the work of the journalist.
"We are convinced that there are elements of judgment and conviction to establish that the crime of Jaime Garzón occurred in a context of widespread and systematic attacks against people who defended human rights, who had humanitarian activities, who defended the peace process", said Escobar to El Espectador.
The importance of granting this category to the crime is that it can stay longer in the justice and could clarify the responsibility of other alleged perpetrators, such as Colonel (r) Jorge Eliécer Plazas Acevedo.
Already in 2009, Narváez had been condemned after the scandal of illegal interceptions to journalists and government opponents, but he was released for lack of evidence. According to Semana, Narváez has become "the symbol of the most twisted relationship that the State came to have with paramilitarism."
LatinAmerican Post | Luisa Fernanda Báez
Translated from “No más impunidad: ¿Quién es el condenado por el asesinato de Jaime Garzón?”