Relations with Colombia have not worsened after Panama’s decision to gran political asylum to Colombia’s former intelligence director, Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli said Sunday.
In an interview with Colombian radio station La FM, Martinelli said that “in no way and in the least” relations had been negatively affected by the asylum of former DAS director Maria del Pilar Hurtado, who was charged with abuse of power amid the unfolding of a major scandal involving her personnel spying on Colombians and foreigners who apparently were deemed a threat to the government of former President Alvaro Uribe.
“Each country has the sovereignty to take its own decisions and Panama took a decision like a sovereign country. I believe that this was the same position as the Colombian government,” the Panamanian president and personal friend of Uribe said.
Colombian authorities have accused Panama of undermining Colombia’s judicial system and have denied claims by Del Pilar Hurtado that she is a victim of a political persecution.
Del Pilar Hurtado fled Colombia late 2010, months before the Supreme Court issued an arrest warrant against her and Uribe’s former staff, who are both suspects in the wiretap case. The former President himself is also under criminal investigation, but by a congressional committee.