Colombia’s Justice and Interior Minister German Vargas Lleras says former minister and ambassador to Italy Sabas Pretelt would be given full protection if he returns to Colombia.
Pretelt denied seeking political asylum in Costa Rica Tuesday, saying he asked for subsidiary protection. “This is not being a refugee […] it protects a person against threats against his life.” The politician said but he fears for his life because he has been accused of bribing congressmen to secure the 2006 re-election of then President Alvaro Uribe.
Vargas Lleras said that Pretelt would receive his status as former minister and receive appropriate security measures.
“I was ordered by the 1740 decree, and he will enjoy the protection offered by the ministry [of justice and the interior] guaranteeing his security,” Vargas Lleras said.
The minister added that the Colombian Supreme Court’s criminal division had made the decision to appoint associate judges to ensure independence in the case brought against Pretelt.
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.