Venezuela’s former top prosecutor Luisa Ortega arrived in Colombia on Friday, migration authorities in Bogota said, after she was fired by a controversial new legislative superbody and said she feared for her life. Ortega broke with socialist President Nicolas Maduro in late March and became a vocal critic of his unpopular government, eventually going into hiding after the newly elected constituent assembly fired her earlier this month.
The assembly fired Ortega during its first session on August 5, but she and some governments in the region have refused to accept the body’s decisions. “This afternoon the attorney general of Venezuela Luisa Ortega Diaz arrived from Aruba in a private plane to Bogota’s airport and completed the corresponding migration process,” Colombia’s migration agency said in a statement.
She was accompanied by her husband, the legislator German Ferrer, the statement added. It was not clear whether the couple were seeking asylum in Colombia. The 59-year-old told Reuters in an interview this month that she feared the government would “deprive me of my life.” Her replacement, ex-human rights ombudsman Tarek Saab, this week outlined corruption accusations against Ortega and her husband.
The couple are accused of running an “extortion gang” and funneling profits into an account in the Bahamas. More than 120 people have been killed during often violent unrest against Maduro’s government over a crippling economic crisis and what opponents call his increasingly authoritarian rule.
Colombia is among the Latin American countries which have roundly criticized Maduro, while also condemning a suggestion by US President Donald Trump that a military intervention was an option to solve the crisis. South American trade bloc Mercosur said on Friday they will not recognize any measures taken by the constituent assembly. Ortega’s chief of staff did not respond to a request for comment.