The leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC, said the release of their 12,000 members currently detained in Colombian prisons must be part of the final peace agreement with the Colombian government, Reuters reported Monday.
“It is clear that in a final settlement, all our prisoners, without exception, should recover their freedom. That is what’s called a covenant of stable and lasting peace,” FARC negotiator Ricardo Tellez told Colombian media from Cuba, where the peace talks are currently taking place.
Tellez, alias “Rodrigo Granda,” also called on the Colombian government to end its practice of detaining political prisoners, saying, “All those who participated in the legitimate right of rebellion should be free, they must be free,” on Colombian radio station Cafe Stereo.
The guerrilla negotiator added that this should include Simon Trinidad, a leader of the FARC who was extradited to the United States, where he is currently in solitary confinement.
Tellez was himself a political prisoner, but was released in a prisoner swap in 2007 under the administration of former President Alvaro Uribe.
The FARC, the country’s leading guerrilla group, and the government of Colombia have been undergoing peace talks in Havana, Cuba since November 2012, in an effort to bring peace to the country that has seen over 50 years of civil war.
In the past five decades, over 220,000 people have been killed in Colombia and millions displaced or disappeared.