Peruvian Journalist Vicky Pelaez, Deported By U.S. to Russia In Spy Swap Returns To Peru

The spy has returned home.

A Peruvian journalist deported by the United States to Russia in a spy swap returned home and said she was in Peru to attend her father's burial.

Vicky Pelaez told reporters at Lima's airport on Friday night that she would not speak publicly until after her father's burial in the highlands city of Cuzco on Saturday.

Pelaez was not accompanied by husband Mikhail Vasenkov, whom she met in Peru in the 1980s when he was living as Juan Lazaro. The couple was arrested last June by U.S. authorities along with eight other people accused of being Russian spies.

Peruvian prosecutor have said the 55-year-old Pelaez apparently altered her birth and marriage records and said that if she returned to Peru she could be detained.

The Associated Press was not immediately able to reach authorities for comment on Pelaez's legal status.

Pelaez was a longtime columnist for the newspaper El Diario La Prensa in New York known as a fervent defender of Cuba's Fidel Castro when she was arrested.

All 10 of the accused Russian spies were sent to Russia in July in exchange for the release by Moscow of four people convicted of spying for the West.

Both Pelaez and Vasenkov, 65, pleaded guilty in the United States to conspiring to act as an unregistered agent of a foreign country.

The two disappeared from public view and Pelaez's return to Peru on Friday brought her back into the limelight.

Peru's foreign minister had warned after the two were deported by the U.S. that Vasenkov could be charged with lying on his Peruvian citizenship application if he were to return to Peru.

Lawyers for the couple had said at the time that the pair planned to return to Peru.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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