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News > Latin America

Colombia: Santrich Transferred From Hospital, Urged to End Hunger Strike

  • "Freedom Now! Santrich is innocent. No more set up. No more treason." | Photo: Reuters

Published 11 May 2018

Several public figures have called on Santrich to end his hunger strike and "live to create more peace." 

Jesus Santrich, one of the leaders of the Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC), has been transferred from the El Tunal Hospital in Bogota to a compound overseen by the Colombian Episcopacy.

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"We informed the public and solidarity organizations that Jesus Santrich was transferred to the headquarters offered by the Episcopal Conference for humanitarian reasons, but is still on a hunger strike," the Links of Dignity Foundation explained in a tweet posted late Thursday.

The FARC leader, who played a crucial role in negotiating the peace agreement between the Colombian government and now disarmed rebel group, started a hunger strike on April 9, after he was detained, to protest what he describes as an illegal detention and the move by the United States to have him extradited over alleged links to drug trafficking.

Several public figures including human rights activist and senator Ivan Cepeda along with Alvaro Leyva - a former politician who played an essential role in the peace negotiations - have called on Santrich to end his 33-day-long hunger strike and "live to create more peace." Jean Arnault, the head of the United Nation's Verification Mission in Colombia, has also expressed his concerns about the health of Santrich after he visited him at the hospital in Bogota.

In response to the calls, as fears have grown about his health, Santrich said: “life is worth nothing if we don’t leave at least a small print of dignity that endures.”

The peace commission in Colombia's senate and the house of representatives have both called on President Juan Manuel Santos to guarantee Santrich’s health and have voted on proposals asking him to veto the extradition request. 

Legislator Alirio Uribe said: "The right to truth of the victims in accordance to what is established in national legal order and what was agreed in the final (peace) accord," as he urged Santos to guarantee due process before national judicial authorities.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration accuses Santrich of agreeing to export 10 tons of cocaine to the U.S. after the peace agreement was signed in November 2016. Santrich has denied the charges and FARC members have criticized his detentions warning it threatens the peace accords.  

The national government approved his transfer from the hospital through the Justice Ministry and the Colombian Episcopacy.

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