Panama President Ricardo Martinelli admitted Thursday that his country is reviewing several political asylum requests from Colombian former government officials who are being investigated for crimes in their country.
In an interview with CNN en Español, Martinelli claimed “not to remember” which former officials had requested political asylum, but said his government is reviewing their cases, several Colombian media reported.
RCN Radio talked to CNN journalist Juan Carlos Lopez, who said that the controversy caused by the political asylum granted to former intelligence chief Maria del Pilar Hurtado has delayed the other requests. According to Lopez, Martinelli considers the political asylums “an issue that could cause more problems in his country and, because of that, the other requests would have to wait.”
Martinelli denied that Colombia’s former president, and a personal friend, Alvaro Uribe had asked him to grant asylum to former aides and employees.
Several of Uribe’s closest aides are being investigated for the illegal wiretapping of Supreme Court magistrates, human rights organization, politicians and journalists. Others are under investigation for the bribing of congressmen to approve Uribe’s 2006 election run.