Uribe admits ‘recommending’ aides to seek asylum

Former President Alvaro Uribe has admitted that he recommended Maria del Pilar Hurtado, the allegedly corrupt ex-DAS director currently protected in Panama despite Colombian extradition requests, to seek asylum due to a perceived lack of justice, El Espectador reported Monday.

The ex-head of state revealed that he told “several government colleagues,” including Del Pilar Hurtado, who had been “complaining that they did not have guarantees of justice, to seek asylum.”

Del Pilar Hurtado is wanted in Colombia for her alleged complicity in the wiretapping scandal that has disgraced the Colombian intelligence agency DAS. However, the Panamanian government granted her political asylum in November 2010 and has since refused to remove it despite Colombia calling for an international arrest warrant to be issued by Interpol.

“I know that I have to tell the country with all sincerity…I told them [my government colleagues], ‘If you feel that you acted [in good faith] and that you don’t have guarantees [then] look for asylum. I cannot cheat my compatriots [by] denying that,” said Uribe.

In December, Uribe had already admitted to “suggesting” the possibility of asylum to “several” of his former staff, who are in trouble with Colombian justice.

Several of Uribe’s ministers are being investigated for corruption and bribery. His chief of staff and Del Pialr Hurtado were charged with ordering the illegal wiretapping of Supreme Court magistrates, human rights groups, opposition politicians and journalists.

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