Colombian politician to sue over kidnapping

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The Independent US

Ingrid Betancourt, the Colombian politician who was held hostage by rebels for more than six years before being rescued by the army, has sued the state over her kidnapping.

The suit seeks $6.6m (£4.4m) in damages for emotional stress and loss of earnings while she was being held in secret jungle camps by the guerrillas.

Ms Betancourt, who also has French citizenship, was snatched by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or Farc, while campaigning for president in 2002. State security officials had warned her against entering the rural area, which was being fought over by troops and the leftist guerrillas.

Details of the suit outlining why she believes the state should be held responsible were not available.

She returned to Colombia from France for several hours last week to celebrate the anniversary of her release. In July 2008, Ms Betancourt's Farc jailers were duped into handing her and 14 other hostages, including three US anti-drug contractors, over to soldiers masquerading as members of a humanitarian group that had volunteered to fly them by helicopter to a new location.

The rescue was a humiliating blow to the Farc, which has been pressed on to the defensive by a US-backed military campaign aimed at crushing the insurgency.