A Colombian court has sentenced Abel Nuñez Carrillo, an ELN guerrilla captured in 2007, to 40 years in prison for his involvement in the 1999 hijacking of an Avianca flight, El Tiempo reported Thursday.
The judge found Nuñez Carrillo guilty of aggravated kidnapping for extortion, seizure and diversion of aircraft, and rebellion. The guerrilla was ordered to pay the equivalent of 310 minimum monthly salaries, a sum of about $80,000.
Avianca Flight 9463 was hijacked by six ELN guerrillas shortly after it took off on April 12, 1999 from the city of Bucaramanga for Bogota, and was forced to land on a clandestine airstrip set up by the guerrillas. Upon landing, a few of the hostages were released, but 35 remained as ELN prisoners for more than a year.
Nuñez Carillo was arrested in August 2007 by Colombian authorities. At the time of the hijacking, he was only eighteen years old.
In addition to Nuñez Carillo, Colombian authorities have also caught and sentenced Ever Castillo Sumaleva to 39 years in prison, Luis Eduardo Galvis Rivera to 37, William Ricardo Blanco Suarez and Hector Dante Becerra Salazar to 36, and Jose Maria Ballestas, who was captured in Venezuela, to 30.
The intellectual authors of the crime, Israel Ramirez Pineda and Herlinton Chamorro, were also captured and sentenced to 39 years. Maria Orlinda Guerrero was captured in September 2007, and is still awaiting sentencing.