Supreme Court: No extradition in US kidnap case

The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Colombia should not extradite ‘Gafas’, one of the
guerrillas captured during last year’s ‘Operation Jaque’.

The court said its decision is not subject to appeal. U.S. Embassy officials had no immediate comment.

Alexander ‘Gafas’
Farfan cannot be extradited on kidnapping
and terrorism charges because “the crimes for which he is wanted were
committed in national territory,” the court said in a written opinion.

The
court said its decision was based on careful consideration of Colombian
law and multilateral treaties such as the 1979 International Convention
against the Taking of Hostages.

President Alvaro Uribe had no
immediate comment, but Uribe’s close adviser, Jose Obdulio Gaviria,
called the ruling “a political decision.”

“It means to say that
from now on the court can’t extradite anyone,” he told The Associated
Press. “I think it’s a decision that should be reconsidered.”

On
July 2, Colombian military agents posing as members of a humanitarian
mission spirited to safety U.S. captives Marc Gonsalves, Tom Howes and
Keith Stansell, along with French-Colombian politician Ingrid
Betancourt.

Farfan and a second rebel from the Revolutionary
Armed Forces of Colombia, Gerardo Antonio Aguilar, or “Cesar,” were
captured during the operation. Both were indicted and the United States
requested their extradition a week later.

The three Northrop
Grumman Corp. contractors were on a surveillance mission when their
plane went down in rebel territory in February 2003.

Gonsalves’
mother, Jo Rosano, told the AP by e-mail that while she understood the
court’s reasoning, “these demons took 5 1/2 years of the guys’ lives
away.”

Wednesday’s decision could affect Aguilar as well as a
third rebel from a different group, Carlos Marin Guarin. Guarin is
charged with two separate kidnappings of Americans, in 1999 and 2003.

In
his 6 1/2 years in office, Uribe has extradited 869 people — more than
800 of them to the United States, according to the Justice Ministry.
They include 15 paramilitary warlords indicted by U.S. courts on drug
charges, most of whom have admitted to dozens of murders. (AP)

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