[QODLink]
Americas
Colombia frees jailed Farc leader
Colombia plans to release more prisoners in return for hostages.
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2007 04:11 GMT
Granda was arrested in Venezuela in 2004 [AP]

The Colombian government has released a high-ranking Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (Farc) leader in a possible prelude to freedom for a prominent hostage held by the guerrillas.
 
Rodrigo Granda, the group's foreign minister, was released from prison on Monday after meeting the president's peace negotiator in the capital, Bogota.
More jailed fighters are expected to be released later this week to secure the freedom of 60 hostages, including three Americans, held by Farc.
 
Unconfirmed reports say Granda will be flown to Paris to present evidence that Ingrid Betancourt, a French hostage, is still alive, Al Jazeera reported.

"The government has given him all the guarantees so he can act as a facilitator to work for peace"

Alvaro Uribe, Colombian president

Granda was arrested in December 2004 after being snatched by police agents in Caracas in an operation that fuelled tensions between Venezuela and Colombia.
 
Alvaro Uribe, the president, said in a late-night television address: "Today after midday, Rodrigo Granda was freed from prison.
 
"The government has given him all the guarantees so he can act as a facilitator to work for peace."
 
Granda's release is part of Uribe's plans to free about 180 jailed rebels in a unilateral gesture he hopes will prompt Farc to release its hostages.
 
The Farc on Sunday rejected the president's plan and reiterated a demand he cede a demilitarised zone as a condition for talks.
 
Granda, dressed in street clothes and carrying a rucksack, was escorted from the maximum security prison in La Dorada, northeast of the capital, on to a helicopter, footage broadcast by the country's two main television networks showed.
 
Sandra Acosta, of the Roman Catholic Episcopate press office, said Granda is expected to travel to the church's headquarters in Bogota.
 
Miguel Gonzalez, Granda's lawyer, said: "Rodrigo Granda today obtained his precarious liberty ... in an unprecedented legal process and with the use of mechanisms that violate the constitutional and legal order."
Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
A handful of agencies that provide tours to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea say business is growing.
A political power struggle masquerading as religious strife grips Nigeria - with mixed-faith couples paying the price.
The current surge in undocumented child migrants from Central America has galvanized US anti-immigration groups.
Absenteeism among doctors at government hospitals is rife, prompting innovative efforts to ensure they turn up for work.
Marginalised and jobless, desperate young men in Nairobi slums provide fertile ground for al-Shabab.
join our mailing list