A Colombian court ruled on Friday that the State must pay compensation to the victims of the 1999 Avianca plane hijacking by left-wing rebel group, the ELN.
According to the ruling by the Santander Administrative Tribunal, the State’s civil aviation authority, Avianca, the police and the Administrative Security Department (DAS), were all partially responsible for the hijacking.
Consequently, each of the 22 passengers and five crew members must be paid between $8,250 and $25,000 in compensation for the moral and psychological injuries suffered during their ordeal.
The passengers’ lawyer Harold Penagos released a statement affirming that “they [the state, the police, Avianca and the Administrative Security Department (DAS)] have an obligation effectively to guarantee the safety of the passengers and they failed to do this, as a result the plane and its passengers were kidnapped.”
Avianca flight 9463 was hijacked on April 12, 1999 on route from Bucaramanga to Bogota. After landing at an airstrip set up by the ELN guerrillas, 35 hostages were kept in captivity for more than a year.
The ruling follows the case of Colombia’s former state president Juan Manuel Corzo, also a passenger on the hijacked flight, who in 2012 was awarded close to $440,000 for the two years in captivity he suffered at the hands of the ELN.
- El Estado debe pagar indemnización por secuestro del avión de Avianca en 1999 (Caracol Radio)
- Condenan al Estado y a la aerolínea por el secuestro del Fokker-50 de Avianca (Vanguardia)
- Condenan a la Nación y a Avianca por secuestro del avión Fokker por parte del Eln (Radio Santa Fe)