Obama Could Pardon Extradited FARC Leader as Part of Peace Deal
The attorney for Ovidio Ricardo Palmera, also known by the nom de guerre Simon Trinidad, announced that his client could be released if outgoing President Barack Obama grants a pardon to the guerrilla who is serving a lengthy sentence for kidnapping in the United States and could join the implementation process of the Santos-FARC agreement as the subversive group desires.
According to the lawyer, this decision must be taken to correct what he considers a historical error, since he considers that the United States “did not respect the historic conditions of the Colombian Constitutional Court when it granted the extradition.” Palmera made his statements in an interview with the newspaper El Espectador.
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In the eventuality that his pardon is granted, he would be released from maximum security prison in the United States, and be repatriated to Colombia, with the approval of President Santos.
This petition to pardon Simón Trinidad has been strongly criticized by two US Senators who sent a letter to President Obama in which they said that this action would send the wrong message to the FARC and would also undermine the country’s judicial system. The letter was sent by Republicans Marco Rubio of Florida, and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina.
In addition, lawmakers warned that if Trinidad’s pardon and release to the Colombian government is approved, it would jeopardize the request for resources that the Colombian executive made to the US Congress to support the Santos-FARC agreement. The figure in question for the proposed aid package was alleged to be USD $450 million.
Simon Trinidad is currently serving a 60-year sentence for having participated in the kidnapping of three Americans who were in Colombian territory. He was captured in Ecuador by the authorities of that country in 2004, faced charges of rebellion, extortion, kidnapping, and murder and was later sent to the United States where he was convicted of kidnapping and accused of drug trafficking. He was found not guilty on the drug trafficking offense.
Source: El Espectador