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Former Colombian hostage drops compensation demand over captivity

07-14-2010 17:12 BJT

BOGOTA, July 13 (Xinhua) -- Former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt withdrew on Tuesday her demands for compensation from the Colombian government for her nearly six-year captivity by Colombian rebels.

Betancourt's lawyer, Juan Gabriel Devis, dropped the demand for compensation of up to 6.8 million U.S. dollars.

Betancourt, who is also a French citizen, said on Sunday that she regretted having demanded millions in compensation for financial and moral damage she and her family had suffered.

"I want to clarify that I never meant to attack those who free me. I feel very painful if that was the impression I have left to the

Colombians," Betancourt said in an interview with a local TV station, Caracol.

She also said that her purpose in making the demand was "for people to know the truth, because many negative things were said after my kidnapping. The only thing I'm looking for is to ensure it will not happen again."

The Defense Ministry said that on June 30 it received a request for compensation of 6.8 million dollars from the French-Colombian politician and members of her family.

Betancourt, 48, describing this figure as "symbolic," said that nothing could compensate for the suffering of the victims.

The former hostage was captured by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in February 2002 when she was campaigning in San Vicente del Caguan, a town in southern Colombia.

Betancourt said she was not "irresponsible" despite the warnings that she stop her campaign in the area because of the battles and the strong presence of the guerrilla there.

She said the government of President Andres Pastrana (1998-2002) called her guards back when she started traveling and she decided to continue the tour because of her commitment to the people of San Vicente del Caguan.

Betancourt, together with three Americans and 11 Colombian officials, was rescued by Colombia's military in an operation on July 2, 2008.

Editor:Jin Lin |Source: Xinhua

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