The National Council of the Revolutionary Alternative Forces of the Commons, or FARC, released an official statement on Thursday demanding the release of their newly-elected congressman Jesus Santrich.
Referring to Santrich's detention as being “illegal,” the FARC pointed out that the peace accord, as well as the Special Jurisdiction for Peace, have been the “subject of multiple attacks meant to undermine their character, limit their scope and ignore their competencies” by the Colombian government.
The document goes on to state that the FARC demands the “immediate freedom of Jesus Santrich and the more than 600 combatants who remain behind bars more than a year after the approval of the amnesty law” They also demanded the repatriation of all FARC members imprisoned abroad. “The Revolutionary Alternative Forces of the Common express its willingness to build peace and democracy in Colombia” and we have “taken the decision” to fulfil this promise “without weapons.”
The Colombian government arrested Santrich earlier this month at the request of the U. S. Embassy in Colombia, accusing him of drug trafficking.
On Monday, Colombia's Attorney General Nestor Humberto Martinez formally ratified the arrest for extradition purposes of Santrich on narco-trafficking charges after receiving the documents sent by a U.S. federal court. “We are demonstrating to Colombian society and the international community that the peace accord did not mean impunity in regards to drug-trafficking,” he said during an interview with Radio Caracol.
Santrich was a leader in the now disarmed FARC guerrilla group who played a critical role in the 2016 peace process with the Colombian government.
The FARC claims Santrich's detention is “part of a plan orchestrated by the U.S. government with the assistance of the Colombian Prosecutor's Office … with the purpose of decapitating the political direction of our Party and burying the wish for peace of the Colombian people.”