Colombian rebel jailed for 27 years over US hostage case

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Image released by the US embassy in Colombia in July, 2008 shows US citizens Keith Stansell (L), Marc Gonsalves and Thomas Howes (R) after being rescued by the Colombian army from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)A former commander of Colombia’s leftist FARC rebels was jailed for 27 years for his role in the 2003 kidnap of three US citizens held captive for five years, the US Justice Department said. Alexander Beltran Herrera, 38, pleaded guilty in March to three counts of hostage-taking relating to the abduction of Marc Gonsalves, Thomas Howes and Keith Stansell. The three men were taken prisoner by FARC fighters after their aircraft crashed deep in the Colombian jungle. Two other men — US national Thomas Janis and Colombian Luis Alcides Cruz — were murdered near the crash site by the rebels.

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