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Colombia ex-intelligence chief released on technicality

[JURIST] Colombian appellate judge Leonor Perdomo ordered the release of ex-intelligence chief Jorge Noguera [CIP backgrounder] Friday on the grounds that Noguera was "illegally and unconstitutionally being deprived of his freedom" because chief prosecutor Mario Iguaran had not personally issued an arrest request. Perdomo ruled that Iguaran has to personally request ex-intelligence chief's detention because Noguera was a public servant when the crimes were alleged to have been committed. Noguera, who was arrested on Thursday [JURIST report], is accused of murder and conspiracy for allegedly contracting with illegal paramilitary groups [JURIST report] to assassinate political opponents. Iguaran disagreed with the ruling, stating that "[he didn't] think Colombia or the international community can tolerate the message that conspiring with criminals has any relation to one's functions as a public servant."

Noguera, who ran the Colombian Department of Administrative Security [official website, in Spanish] resigned [BBC report] in October 2005 after he was tape-recorded while discussing plans to sell intelligence to paramilitary groups. Several of the people on Noguera's hit list were later killed, including university professor Alfredo Correa de Andreis [Amnesty International backgrounder], who was investigating the paramilitary groups at the time of his death in 2004 [American Anthropological Association protest letter]. AP has more.

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