The ruling was made on Wednesday by the Superior Tribunal of Villavicencio, condemning Jose Crisanto Gomez Tapiero to 33 years in prison for extortion, kidnapping, rebellion, procedural fraud and false testimony. He will also have to pay a fine of over $1.5 million.
Gomez has always maintained his innocence, stating that the FARC delivered the newborn to him, and that he and his family didn’t know the significance of the child’s identity. Gomez declared after the ruling that it was “more political than judicial” and announced that he will appeal the decision.
Clara Rojas Gonzalez was captured by the FARC along with the former presidential candidate, Ingrid Betancourt, in February 2002. She had the child while in FARC captivity. Rojas was Betancourt’s campaign manager at the time, and later stood as her vice presidential candidate.
Emmanuel Rojas, the child in question, was separated from his mother in 2004, when he was eight months old. Mother and child had to wait another four years before finally being reunited.
A film has since been made about the saga, the release of which Clara Rojas unsuccessfully tried to block.
Gomez Tapiero has been at liberty since April 2012, when he was freed by the first judge to preside over the case, after spending four years in prison. However this decision was overruled on Wednesday. Gomez Tapiero has vowed to appeal the decision.