Illegal intelligence activities against lawyers in Colombia
It has been reported that human rights lawyers and other human rights defenders were targeted by illegal intelligence operations that were conducted by parts of the Colombian National Army. Multiple human rights organizations including the FIDH have expressed their concerns.
On 1 May 2020, the Colombian magazine Semana published information about the existence of “secret files” containing personal information about at least 130 people. The magazine noted that these individuals were the object of “profiling and surveillance” from parts of the Colombian National Army. It has been said that with the collected information, the Colombian National Army had the intention to prepare military intelligence reports on their lives and professional and private activities. This information has been collected without legal justification.
In December 2019, the Supreme Court of Justice in Colombia ordered a search to be conducted into information held by the Cyber-Intelligence Battalion (Batallón de Ciberinteligencia – BACIB). Consequently, it was revealed that intelligence actvities had been coordinated by the BACIB and other military intelligence bodies.
Prior to his, various human rights organisations had reported surveillance activities in their officies in Bogotá.
PBI Colombia reports that: “These incidents seriously affect the constitutional and democratic order of the Colombian State, considering that the list includes international and national journalists, organizations and individuals who defend human rights, unionists, judges, lawyers for extrajudicial executions cases, and
The individuals and organisations who have been targeted by the illegal intelligence operations are amongst other lawyers who have defended victims of extrajudicial killings and other crimes commited by State agents, in particular by the state security forces.
Lawyers for Lawyers will continue to monitor this situation closely.
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