Costa Rica on Tuesday said it had rejected a request for political asylum from former Colombian Interior and Justice Minister Sabas Pretelt de la Vega, who is under investigation for allegedly bribing congressmen to approve the 2006 re-election run of then-President Alvaro Uribe.
“The Foreign Ministry has no pending request of political asylum. The last one was rejected on October 6, of mister Sabas Pretelt de la Vega, former minister of Colombia,” Costa Rica’s Foreign Minister Rene Castro said at a press conference.
The ex-official denies having sought asylum, but said he asked for subsidiary protection. “This is not being a refugee […] it protects a person against threats against his life,” Pretelt de la Vega told W Radio.
According to Pretelt de la Vega, he requested similar protection from the government of Italy, where he was ambassador until May when a conviction of the Inspector General’s Office and the criminal investigation against him by the Prosecutor General’s Office forced him to leave office.
The former minister is being investigated for the 2004 bribery of two congressmen who changed their vote on a constitutional change to allow then-President Alvaro Uribe to run for office again in 2006. Both congressmen are currently in jail for having accepted the bribes and approving the constitutional change.