Former FARC hostage Ingrid Betancourt on Tuesday withdrew her petition to the Colombian Inspector General’s Office, in which she sought over $6.5 million from the state in damages for the six years she spent in guerrilla captivity, according to Caracol Radio.
The lawyer representing Betancourt and her family, Gabriel Devis Morales, officially withdrew the “request for conciliation,” which means that a public mediation meeting between the government and Betancourt, set for August 5, will not go ahead.
Inspector Isnardo Jaimes said that Betancourt’s request for conciliation is now cancelled and the former hostage has three days in which to reactivate it, after which it will expire and it would not be possible to submit a new request.
The Colombian government argued that Betancourt had no right to claim damages, and maintained that the former FARC hostage was explicitly warned not to enter the formerly demilitarized zone where she was kidnapped. Military officials said that she signed a document accepting personal responsibility for her decision to enter, which Betancourt denies.
The Colombian state cited DAS documents and video footage of Betancourt the day she was kidnapped as proof that she was aware of the risks she was taking by entering the Andean nation’s former DMZ.
Betancourt claimed that the Colombian state failed to provide her adequate protection to travel in the zone, stripping her of her bodyguards and refusing to allow her to fly by state helicopter into the heavily guerrilla infiltrated area where she was kidnapped.
According to Betancourt, her petition for damages aimed to “open the way so that other people who have been kidnapped can get compensation.”
Keith Stansell, a U.S contractor and former hostage, who spent five years in FARC captivity with Betancourt said Monday that it was the former presidential candidate’s “own arrogance that got her kidnapped.”
The Colombian army rescued Betancourt, Stansell and thirteen other hostages in the highly celebrated liberation mission “Operation Checkmate” on July 2, 2008, a mission which Betancourt herself described as “perfect.”
Betancourt, a dual French-Colombian citizen, did not mention her petition when she was in Colombia to celebrate the two year anniversary of the rescue.
Betancourt now divides her time between New York and Paris.