Colombia will not exchange an alleged FARC member for captured French journalist Romeo Langlois, according to Defense Minister Juan Carlos Pinzon.
“Under no circumstances will the French journalist be exchanged for the director of the agency related to the FARC,” Pinzon said.
The prisoner in question, Joaquin Perez Becerra, was nabbed by Venezuelan authorities in April 2011 after an Interpol red notice was issued for his arrest. He was the editor of Swedish-based news agency ANNCOL, accused of supporting the FARC.
“Since Romeo Langlois was kidnapped by the FARC, the government has initiated discussions with diplomats from the French Embassy” to secure his release, said Pinzon.
The proposal for the prisoner exchange was made by exiled Colombian journalist Luis Ernesto Almario, who fled to Australia after he was accused of being a FARC member.
The Defense Minister also revealed that “the government has not launched rescue operations” to secure the return of Langlois.
Pinzon also confirmed that the Frenchman signed a form exempting Colombian authorities from “administrative responsibility in the event of a problem.”
Langlois went into FARC hands on April 28 when the platoon he was embedded with came under fire, wounding the journalist in the arm. He was filming a documentary on counternarcotics operations in the region for news network France 24.