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18 alleged FARC members indicted in U.S.

12-15-2010 09:12 BJT

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- Eighteen alleged members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) were indicted Tuesday by a federal grand jury in Washington, D.C. for their participation in the hostage-taking of three American citizens in Colombia.

The three former hostages were held in the Colombian jungle by members of the FARC for more than five years, until their rescue by Colombian military forces in July 2008.

The indictment charges the 18 defendants with conspiracy to commit hostage taking, using and carrying a firearm during a crime of violence and conspiracy to provide material support to terrorists and a designated foreign terrorist organization, the Justice Department said in a statement.

If convicted of these charges, each defendant would face a maximum term of up to 60 years of incarceration, the maximum sentence permitted under Colombian law for Colombian nationals extradited to the United States for prosecution.

Four Americans and a Colombian national were conducting counter- drug aerial surveillance in southern Colombia on Feb. 13, 2003, when their aircraft experienced engine failure and was forced to make an emergency landing on a remote mountainside where a large contingent of FARC guerrillas were gathered.

All five occupants of the plane survived the crash, but were immediately taken captive by the FARC guerrillas. Two of them were immediately executed by the FARC, and the other three were held under barbaric conditions in the jungle for more than five years.

Editor:Du Xiaodan |Source: Xinhua

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