Former FARC head alias Simon Trinidad was sentenced in February 2008 to 60 years in a high-security prison in Colorado, USA. He was extradited, and convicted for drug trafficking and money laundering.
The FARC now insist Trinidad partake in the current ongoing negotiations in Oslo and Havana.
During his trials, Trinidad tried very hard to be considered a prisoner of war, a status which he was denied.
Here, watch a video in which he tries to defend / justify himself.
If he is now allowed to participate in peace talks, it would be the equivalent to granting him the status of prisoner of war, according to Leon Valencia, a columnist for Semana magazine.
For the FARC to give up the spot of an active member of their group, who has command over the troops and knowledge of the guerrilla’s current plans, and instead ask to include a former head who has been in isolation for eight years is a political move.
According to Valencia, article 35 of Colombia’s Constitution prohibits the extradition of political prisoners. To be recognized as a political group is a first step that FARC heads will not end up in U.S. prisons.
It is possible that Trinidad can participate in the dialogues via tele-conference, but the decision is up to the American justice system.
(To know: Leon Valencia is a demobilized former commander of the ELN. He now heads the NGO Nuevo Arco Iris which battles for human rights.)