Liberated FARC hostage Ingrid Betancourt is seeking $6.6 million in damages from the Colombian government as compensation for her six years as a prisoner of the guerrilla organization.
Betancourt was kidnapped by the FARC on February 23, 2002, when she traveled to the El Caguan region to campaign for the presidency.
Casa de Nariño sources told El Espectador that security forces had advised Betancourt against entering the El Caguan zone, which had recently been retaken from the
FARC by government forces, but she ignored the warnings and proceeded.
Betancourt claims that the state failed to provide her adequate protection to travel in the zone, Caracol Radio reports.
Former peace commissioner Camilo Gonzalez said that Colombia’s Defense Ministry holds a document signed by Betancourt in which she accepts responsibility for her own safety.
“The day she was kidnapped the ex-presidential candidate arrived at a military checkpoint, where she was stopped, because it had become a conflict zone and was highly dangerous. At the checkpoint she signed a document assuming responsibility for anything that happened to her,” Gonzalez said.
Betancourt claims that the day she was abducted, several army officers assured her there was no danger and nothing would happen to her.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe and Defense Minister Gabriel Silva declined to comment on the matter, since they are involved in the case.
Colombia’s Defense Ministry was reportedly surprised at the request, given that Betancourt is placing blame on the same forces that rescued her in liberation mission “Operation Checkmate” on July 2, 2008, according to Caracol Radio.
While Betancourt’s request for $6.6 million is not an official lawsuit, if she is unable to reach an agreement with the Defense Ministry, the French-Colombian could bring the case to court.