IAPA criticizes asylum offer for ex head of Colombian agency that spied on journalists

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  • December 2, 2010

By Ingrid Bachmann

Panama’s decision to grant asylum to the former director of Colombian intelligence (DAS), María de Pilar Hurtado, could lead to impunity for illegal espionage against media outlets and journalists during the government of Álvaro Uribe, warned the Inter American Press Association (IAPA).

To this date, Hurtado has not been charged by prosecutors in the scandal that involved wiretaps of judges, opposition politicians, and journalists. She claims asylum in Panama is needed because she is unsafe in Colombia, El Colombiano explains.

However, IAPA president Gonzalo Marroquín said the press freedom violations should be considered when granting political asylum.

Ex-President Uribe denies ordering the espionage, and Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli said Hurtado’s asylum offer was not a favor to the former Colombian leader, Semana adds.

According to EFE, Uribe said that former top officials from his government who are under investigation suffer “lack of security,” and he “supports” their asylum efforts for this reason.

Note from the editor: This story was originally published by the Knight Center’s blog Journalism in the Americas, the predecessor of LatAm Journalism Review.