FILE - In this Dec. 6, 2016 file photo, Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, FARC, rebel commander and peace negotiator Seuxis Hernandez, alias Jesus Santrich, flashes a victory hand signal at the end of a press conference in Bogota, Colombia. The Special Peace Tribunal investigating crimes during the country’s long civil conflict announced Wednesday, May 15, 2019, that Hernandez, should not be extradited to the United States on a drug warrant. (AP Photo/Fernando Vergara, File)

Ex-rebel hospitalized in Colombia day after polemical arrest

May 18, 2019 - 2:28 pm

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A former Colombian rebel leader was hospitalized with signs of "altered consciousness" on Saturday, a day after being freed from jail and then rearrested in a highly-politicized drug case that has strained relations with the U.S.

Authorities at Colombia's National Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences did not provide further details on the state of Seuxis Hernández, who is best known by his alias Jesús Santrich. But they said he was taken to a hospital for wounds on his arms that were earlier described as self-inflicted lacerations.

Santrich is in stable condition.

A tribunal investigating war crimes during Colombia's decades-long conflict ruled Wednesday that the former peace negotiator should not be extradited to the United States on drug charges.

But as soon as he was released Friday he was rearrested as part of a new Colombian investigation based on evidence provided in the past 48 hours from U.S. authorities.

An Interpol notice for Santrich's arrest claims he met with cocaine buyers at his residence on Nov. 2, 2017. During that meeting and subsequent negotiations, he and his co-conspirators allegedly discussed plans for a 10-ton shipment to the U.S., boasting they had access to cocaine laboratories and U.S.-registered planes to move the cargo, the notice says.

Santrich has repeatedly professed his innocence, saying he was the victim of a scheme led by the U.S. and conservative opponents of the peace deal to put him behind bars.

The fight over Santrich's extradition has revived the polarizing politics over the 2016 peace deal that aimed to put behind a half century of guerrilla fighting that has left 250,000 people dead and millions displaced.

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