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News > Colombia

Colombia: Former Guerrilla Leader Moved from Prison to Hospital

  • A Jesus Santrich supporter protests in Bogota, Colombia, May 15, 2019. The sign reads, “Freedom now. Santrich is innocent. No more montages, no more betrayal.”

    A Jesus Santrich supporter protests in Bogota, Colombia, May 15, 2019. The sign reads, “Freedom now. Santrich is innocent. No more montages, no more betrayal.” | Photo: EFE

Published 18 May 2019

The controversial rearrest of Santrich Friday evening has prompted FARC party leaders to analyze the Colombian peace agreement process.

Colombian authorities moved Jesus Santrich, a signator to the country's 2016 peace accords and former commander of the Alternative Revolutionary Force of the Common (FARC), to the Mederi Hospital in Bogota for suffering from "delirium," according to the National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences (INMLCF) that diagnosed the Congressmember.

FARC Leader Santrich Re-arrested Immediately Upon Release

After assessing Santrich's health, the INMLCF found he had "self-inflicted wounds on the upper limbs ... and an altered state of consciousness." According to local media, the FARC party member was transferred to the hospital late Friday night and was found to be "disoriented in terms of time and space (and using) incoherent language."

The Marxist leader had been released from the La Picota prison, where he was held for 13 month, Friday evening only to be immediately rearrested by Colombian national police and taken to a holding area of the state prosecutor's office from where he was later transferred to the hospital.

Leaders of the FARC party denounced that Santrich was seriously wounded and in danger of death. Nonetheless, General William Ruiz, the National Penitentiary and Prison Institute (Inpec) director, said Santrich had, "slightly self-injured his arms".

"Jesus Santrich remains in intensive care at Mederi Clinic in Bogota."

Santrich was arrested in Bogota April 9, 2018 following an extradition request from the United States Department of Justice (USDOJ) for alleged drug trafficking. This crime, according to U.S. authorities was committed after he, as part of the now-disarmed FARC, and President Juan Manuel Santos signed the nation's peace deal Nov. 24, 2016. This was make the elected Congressman in violation of the accords.

The former guerrilla was released from jail in a wheelchair Friday evening surrounded by Inpec agents, in compliance with an order of "immediate freedom" issued Wednesday by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), which granted him a non-extradition guarantee.

However, as soon as he passed through the prison's main door, security forces rearrested Santrich because, according to Colombian authorities "new evidence" was found linking him to the drug trafficking charges.

Santrich's case could now go to Colombian ordinary courts where he could face a stiffer sentence. The U.S. government, Colombian President Ivan Duque and former fight-wing president of Colombia, Alvaro Uriba, himself under investigation for conducting para-military massacres as the Antioquia governor in the late 1990s, have been pushing for Santrich's extradition. 

FARC President Rodrigo Londoño called for the party to meet Saturday afternoon to analyze the future of the Colombian peace process.

"They do not stop stabbing peace; with hatred they shatter the [peace] agreement," said Londoño who added that "with dignity and hope, we will recompose and build the country of the future."​​​​​​​

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