Victims of illegal wiretapping by Colombia’s intelligence agency DAS flew to Panama Wednesday to pressure authorities to extradite the agency’s former director, who received political asylum there.
According to Colombian media, journalist Hollman Morris and attorney Luis Guillermo Perez will meet the Panamanian judicial authorities, non-governmental organizations and possible government officials in an attempt to influence the government of Ricardo Martinelli. They want it to revoke the political asylum granted to former DAS director Maria del Pilar Hurtado, who fled Colombia in November 2010 before the Supreme Court warranted her arrest in May the following year.
Colombia has officially requested that Panama waive the political asylum and extradite Del Pilar Hurtado, who faces conspiracy, abuse of power and other charges over the highly controversial wiretap scandal.
Del Pilar Hurtado and her former superior, ex-President Alvaro Uribe, claim the former intelligence chief is a victim of political persecution. The victims of the illegal spying hope to convince the Panamanian authorities that the disgraced DAS chief is no such thing and the charges against her have legal merit.
The wiretap scandal involved the illegal eavesdropping of Supreme Court magistrates, journalists, human rights organizations and Uribe’s political opponents, and forced the former president to begin the dismantling of the DAS, which had been highly controversial over its ties to paramilitary death squads, drug trafficking activities and general corruption of its employees. Uribe himself is accused of having masterminded the wiretapping and is being investigated by a congressional commission.