The court delivered its verdict, “in favour of the extradition of Colombian citizen Alexander Beltran for facts relating to the conspiracy to participate in the crime of kidnapping.”
Beltran, alias “Pirinolo,” will be delivered to U.S. federal authorities for the 2003 kidnapping of American contractors,Thomas Hewes, Heith Stansell and Marc Gonsalves.
Similar extradition requests had previously been rejected over the past three years, but the Supreme Court ruled that Beltran could be extradited since the hostages were held across the Venezuelan border meaning that part of the crime was committed outside Colombian territory.
The U.S. citizens were seized after their airplane was shot down by FARC rebels in the southern department of Caqueta, killing an American and a Colombian on board. The survivors were held captive in the Colombian jungle for five years alongside other hostages, including former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt, who was kidnapped in 2002.
The three hostages were rescued, alongside Betancourt, by Colombian security forces in 2008 as part of Operation Checkmate.