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Tales of Colombia    Plan Colombia    Key Players    Timeline    Issues

Colombia's attorney general proposes prisoner exchange with rebels

SAN VICENTE de CAGUAN, Colombia (CNN) -- Seeking to advance peace talks with FARC rebels, Colombia's attorney general, Alfonso Gomez Mendez, said Wednesday the government should consider implementing a law that would permit it to exchange prisoners.

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Such a move could eliminate one stumbling block to the negotiations -- what to do with escaped prisoner Arnubio Ramos, a former member of the Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia (FARC) who hijacked a plane September 9 and landed it in rebel territory. Ramos was being flown from Bogota to Florencia for a judicial proceeding.

FARC rebels have refused government requests to turn Ramos over to authorities.

Mendez cited Constitutional Law 418, which allows for the exchange of prisoners during armed conflict. If that law was implemented, Ramos could be considered an exchanged prisoner and the government would no longer press for his return.

Mendez's suggestion was well-received by FARC members Wednesday. "The peace process continues to be as luminous as today's afternoon," said FARC spokesman Andres Paris.

The rebels, who are holding a number of prisoners -- including police officers -- have been fighting the government for 37 years.



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