Colombia says Venezuela's dissident ex-prosecutor may freely travel

Colombia says Venezuela's dissident ex-prosecutor may freely travel

Venezuela's former top prosecutor, who fled to neighbouring Colombia last week, may freely enter and leave the Andean country for the next six months, Bogota said on Thursday, in a move likely to anger President Nicolas Maduro.

Venezuela's former chief prosecutor Luisa Ortega Diaz is seen after a meeting with Brazil's Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes Ferreira, in Brasilia, Brazil August 23, 2017. REUTERS/Ueslei Marcelino

BOGOTA: Venezuela's former top prosecutor, who fled to neighbouring Colombia last week, may freely enter and leave the Andean country for the next six months, Bogota said on Thursday, in a move likely to anger President Nicolas Maduro.

Following the removal of the former prosecutor, Luisa Ortega, from her post after she accused Maduro of violating human rights and eroding democracy, she fled Venezuela for Colombia last week with her lawmaker husband.

Ortega then travelled to meet with regional prosecutors in Brazil, where she said on Wednesday she had evidence Maduro was engaged in corruption in the food industry and linked top Socialist Party officials to the Brazilian construction firm Odebrecht's region-wide bribery scandal.

Venezuela's government, which says Ortega is a traitor and hypocrite, has said it requested an Interpol arrest warrant for Ortega and her spouse, German Ferrer.

But in a region where Maduro is becoming a pariah, it seems Ortega will be protected.

"She can enter just like any other foreigner to our territory without any problems," Colombia's migration chief, Christian Kruger, told journalists on Thursday, adding that there was no Interpol warrant against her.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos has said he will grant Ortega asylum if she requests it. A migration agency source told Reuters that Ortega was expected to return shortly to Colombia after her visit to Brazil.

A new constituent assembly fired Ortega during its first session on Aug. 5, but she and some governments in the region have refused to accept the body's decision.  

(Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Alexandra Ulmer and Leslie Adler)

Source: Reuters

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