A New York court sentenced Monday two members of left wing guerrilla group FARC to 10 and 15 years in prison for their role in the 2008 kidnapping of an American in Panama, reported the New York Times Tuesday.
The defendants, Anderson Chamapuro Dogirama and Alejandro Palacios Rengifo, had been convicted in June for the 2008 kidnapping of an American man in Panama. The defendants guarded the victim, Cecilio Juan Padron, in a jungle camp for ten months until the victim’s family paid a ransom in order to secure Padron’s release.
The two men were sentenced to ten years and 15 years respectively by Judge Jed Rakoff of the United States District Court.
Lawyers of the defendants maintained that the two men were abducted by the FARC at just the age of 11 or 12 years and conscripted against their will.
Before being sentenced, Mr Rengifo spoke briefly to the court, saying, “I was kidnapped too. Please give me the opportunity of being with my family.”
Judge Rakoff stated in sentencing that he credited the defendants claims that they were kidnapped but that the two FARC members had taken part, as adults, in a crime that aimed to further the goals of a terrorist group, as identified by the U.S. government.
The defendants were arrested in Colombia in 2009 and extradited to the United States.