The former director of Colombia’s now-defunct intelligence agency, Maria del Pilar Hurtado, took vows in Panama in an alleged attempt to avoid deportation, local media reported Friday.
Hurtado’s marriage to a Colombian citizen with permanent residence in Panama was confirmed by Angel Alvarez, a lawyer who filed a lawsuit to overturn Hurtado’s political asylum and force her deportation to Colombia, according to Radio Blu.
Hurtado‘s husband has been identified as Jose Arteaga, a Colombian citizen who appears as the legal representative of multiple companies in Panama.
In an interview with TVN News, Angel Alvarez said that the marriage does not relieve the former director of the DAS from deportation. “There is no justification in law or any similar cases,” he said. “Hurtado is illegal and undocumented, so she should be deported.”
The disgraced intelligence director fled Colombia in 2010 before an arrest warrant could be brought against her for conspiracy, illegal interception of communication, abuse of public power, and fraud. A wiretapping scandal within the DAS unfolded in 2008 after opposition politicians, media, and authorities discovered that Colombia’s now-defunct intelligence agency had been spying on the Supreme Court, journalists, human rights defenders, and politicians.
FACTSHEET: DAS wiretapping scandal
Del Pilar Hurtado received political asylum in Panama in November 2010 after claiming she had fallen victim to political persecution, and she has been residing in the country ever since.
Victims of the wiretapping scandal, including Colombian Senator Ivan Cepeda, asked the Panamanian government for her deportation at the beginning of July which they duly pursued. Panama’s Supreme Court went on to deny her appeals which attempted to maintain her asylum in Panama. Authorities in Panama are charged with organizing her deportation to Colombia to face trial for her involvement in the wiretapping scandal.