Prominent FARC guerrilla “Simon Trinidad” was extradited to the U.S. on trumped up charges, his fellow rebels said Thursday using a leaked diplomatic cable to support their accusation.
According to “Ivan Marquez,” the FARC’s chief negotiator in peace talks with the government, the 2004 cable released by whistle-blower website WikiLeaks demonstrates that the extradition of Trinidad in 2004 was not justified as there were no pending criminal charges.
PROFILE: Simon Trinidad
The FARC rebels have always rejected their Trinidad’s extradition and subsequent conviction on conspiracy charges and want the senior rebel to take part in the peace talks held in the Cuban capital of Havana.
Marquez, sided by Dutch FARC rebel Tanja Nijmeijer, made the claim that at the time of Trinidad’s arrest, the extradition was politically motivated, as the U.S. admittedly had no criminal case against the FARC rebel at the time of his arrest in Quito, Ecuador.
Senior GOC officials, including President Uribe, have asked that the U.S. consider requesting the extradition of Palmera. They obviously would prefer to see him secure in a U.S. jail than processed in the sometimes unreliable Colombian judicial system. Their requests have had a note of urgency to them. At this time, however, Palmera doe[s] not face criminal charges in the U.S. The Embassy is unaware of any pending investigations against this well-known narco-terrorist by U.S. law enforcement agencies.
Marquez denied that Trinidad was part of the military structure of the FARC, and said the Colombian government and U.S. prosecutors “invented that he belonged to the Secretariat and the Central Command, which allowed them to make him responsible for the retention of three American mercenaries whose airplane had crashed in the jungles of [the department of] Caqueta.”
According to the top FARC negotiator, Trinidad is the “globally recognized spokesman for peace of the FARC in the Caguan talks” that were held unsuccessfully between 1999 and 2002.
Marquez repeated the FARC’s appeal to the U.S. government to repatriate Trinidad so he can take part in the team that is seeking a negotiated end to Colombia’s half-a-century armed conflict between leftist insurgent groups and the state.
While Washington on several occasions expressed its support for the peace talks, it has refused to repatriate Trinidad, who the FARC have requested to be present in Cuba since talks were announced last year.