Panama kicks out ex-Colombian spy chief to face charges at home

Former director of Colombia's intelligence service, the Department of Administrative Security (DAS), Maria del Pilar Hurtado leaves Panama's Chancery next to Panama's Vice Chancellor Alvaro Aleman after signing her petition for asylum in Panama City, November 22, 2010. REUTERS/Alberto Lowe (Reuters)

PANAMA CITY (Reuters) - Panama on Saturday expelled a former Colombian intelligence chief, Maria del Pilar Hurtado, to face charges at home of illegally intercepting phone calls from opposition Colombian lawmakers. The Ministry of Public Security said in a statement that Hurtado had been handed over to Colombian authorities at Panama City airport and flown to Colombia in custody. Just hours earlier Interpol had released an international arrest order for the former spy master. Hurtado is accused of illegal violation of communications and abuse of public function between 2007 and 2009 while she was the head of the now-extinct Department of Administration and Security (DAS). She had received political asylum in Panama in 2010, but the Panamanian government revoked it last year, although she was not immediately detained. Her whereabouts were unknown until she handed herself in on Friday night and she made no public statement regarding the allegations against her. (Reporting by Elida Moreno; Editing by Stephen Powell)