Peace Mission Recognised
Wochenspiegel , 27.05.1998,
Final decision / 58-year-old wants to continue as peace mediator, if services required / order for withdrawal of prosecution document in possession of WOCHENSPIEGEL
District. “My wife and I have been completely exonerated by this verdict. The positive outcome was explained by the fact that these activities, coordinated by the Chancellor’s Office, were carried out solely in the interests of peace in Colombia”, explained Werner Mauss in Bogotá. Germany’s best-known secret agent, the 58-year-old is clearly relieved. It was only a few hours earlier that the Colombian Prosecutor General had announced that a decision had been reached to lift all charges against Mauss and his wife Ida (37).
The decision is already res judicata and no other state or legal authority may appeal against it. The Prosecutor General’s decision orders the closing of the enquiry against Werner Mauss (under four different names which he legally held) and his wife, the lifting of the ban against leaving the country and the return of confiscated property. A satellite phone, four mobile phones, a mobile fax machine, and a laptop, as well as local currency and US dollars were all returned to Mauss.
The money is his “security money” which he and his wife always carry with them as “cover for possible crisis situations. Just imagine what would happen if something was to go wrong on one of our dangerous missions and force us into leaving the crisis region separately. A safety cushion is necessary.” Mauss is at pains to point out that it was “common criminals” who seized the kidnapped wife of a retired BASF manager and not the work of the National Liberation Army (ELN). This has now also been confirmed by the Prosecutor General. The agent sees himself as the victim of intrigue by a foreign security company.
The company specialises in insurance against kidnapping and obviously wanted to pocket a fee for the negotiation of a ransom. He did not name the company. According to Colombian investigators, though it was the London-based “Control Risks” who negotiated with kidnappers and accused Mauss of forcing up the ransom money. Mauss, however, was able to get the hostages freed without payment of any ransom. This, according to the agent, was possible within the context of the peace mission and through the assistance of the ELN who mediated the release. Mauss stressed that he and his wife had risked their lives in order to achieve the ceasefire. This was the context within which he had freed Europeans from the hands of the ELN.
Precondition for the peace talks held under the auspices of the German government and the Catholic Church, planned for December 16 1996 in Bonn, was the release of all European hostages in the rebels hands, he explained. The Mauss negotiations came to an end with his arrest. Mauss: “I have been a civilian employee and adviser to the German government and other authorities for almost 30 years.” It’s a job that the 58-year-old and his 21-year younger wife Ida would like to continue with in the future. “I would like to continue to work for peace in Colombia,” says Mauss. Whether or not this happens, he says, depends on Colombia.
The fact that in its order for withdrawal of prosecution the Prosecutor General fully recognised the efforts of the Bonn government and its agent, Mauss, as part of a peace mission is surely a good omen for the 58-year-old. For Mauss and wife Ida this, as he points out, certainly offers motivation for the future!
By courtesy of the Wochenspiegel SW publishers www.wochenspiegellive.de