Former FARC Commander Gerardo Aguilar Ramirez has been sentenced to 40 years in prison for his role in the guerrilla organization’s attempted takeover of a city in southeast Colombia in 1998, reported national news outlets Thursday.
Ramirez, alias ‘Cesar’, was sentenced by Colombian authorities on charges of aggravated kidnapping, murder, terrorism and torture. In addition to his prison sentence, he received a fine of over $1 million, according to the El Colombiano newspaper.
The former Commander of the FARC’s 1st Front was one of the leaders of a 1998 attack on the city Mitu, the capital city of the southern state of Vaupes. The battle lasted three days, with the FARC, Colombia’s oldest rebel group and a powerful military force at the time, eventually retreating from the city. Around 60 police and military personnel lost their lives along with 100 guerrilla fighters.
Ramirez is perhaps better known for the 2002 kidnapping and imprisonment of then-presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt. Betancourt was held hostage for over six years, before being liberated in 2008’s “Operacion Jaque,” along with 14 other hostages, including three United States contractors.
Ramirez was captured by Colombian armed forces during the rescue mission and extradited to the United States in 2009, where he is currently serving a 27 prison sentence for drug trafficking, after which he will serve his sentence in Colombia.