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Colombia

FARC Says Palmera Must Be Released

by Mick Kelly |
March 10, 2005
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In a statement issued Feb. 27, Colombia’s largest rebel group, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), said that extradition of an important guerilla leader to the United States was a roadblock to organizing an exchange of prisoners of war in Colombia. Ricardo Palmera, also known as Simon Trinidad, is being held in a prison near Washington, D.C.

According to a translation of the FARC statement, “Those familiar with the prisoners of war know that without the return of Simon to Colombia, the possibilities of the exchange accord are far from concrete and it is the fault of Uribe and his government team.”

Tom Burke of the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera states, “The Bush administration has no right to bring Colombians to the United States, where they sit in U.S. jails and are tried by U.S. judges for allegedly violating U.S. laws. Ricardo Palmera is a fighter for liberation who deserves the support of all who value the principles of justice and fairness.”

In another development in the case, Colombian President Uribe stated that he would allow another FARC leader to be extradited to the U.S. Omaira Rojas, also known as Sonia, is a rebel military commander. Sources tell Fight Back! that she is being held in isolation on a ship off Colombia’s coast. Colombian jailers routinely use torture. Reports indicate that she will be brought to the Washington, D.C. area to testify in the Palmera case.

“It’s vital that all progressive people demand the release of Palmera,” states Burke of the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera. “The U.S. government is trying to criminalize those who fight for justice and national liberation. We can’t let them do it.

For further information on the work of the National Committee to Free Ricardo Palmera go to: www.freericardopalmera.org

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