Colombia president Juan Manuel Santos announced that he will request the extradition of the former director of the now-defunct intelligence agency DAS, who faces a number of criminal charges in Colombia, national media reported on Wednesday.
Santos told the director of TV channel Capital Canal that he will submit a petition to Panama’s president in order to obtain the extradition of ex-DAS director Maria Del Pilar Hurtado, Caracol Radio reported.
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.
FACT SHEET: 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.
President-elect Juan Carlos Varela stated at the beginning of May that the asylum granted to Maria Del Pilar Hurtado would be reviewed if there were new requirements by the Colombian justice system.
“I told him [Varela] I was going to ask him to send us this doctor [Del Pilar Hurtado], because the Colombian people have a right to know the truth and truth cannot continue hiding,” said Santos in an interview with TV station Canal Capital.
If extradited from Panama, Maria Del Pilar Hurtado would face serious charges for ordering the spying on supreme court judges, journalists, human rights workers, and opposition politicians.