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U.S. seeks extradition of seized FARC rebels

  • Story Highlights
  • NEW: U.S. Embassy in Colombia formally submits extradition requests
  • Colombian President Uribe will make final decision
  • FARC rebels are Gerardo Antonio Aguilar Ramirez and Alexander Farfan Suarez
  • Americans were conducting counternarcotics mission when plane crashed in 2003
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BOGOTA, Colombia (CNN) -- The United States has formally requested the extradition of two Colombian guerrillas who were detained last week in a mission that freed 15 hostages, including three U.S. defense contractors and former Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt.

The two members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) face federal charges in the United States of hostage taking and supporting a foreign terrorist organization.

The U.S. Embassy in Colombia formally submitted extradition requests on Wednesday, a Colombian government statement said. The request seeks the extradition of Gerardo Antonio Aguilar Ramirez, known as "Cesar," and Alexander Farfan Suarez, known as "Gafas."

They were detained in a mission that freed U.S. defense contractors Marc Gonsalves, Thomas Howes and Keith Stansell, as well as Betancourt and 11 Colombian police officers and soldiers.

The U.S. request will be reviewed by the Colombian Foreign Ministry, Interior Ministry and Justice Ministry before going to the Supreme Court, the government statement said. President Alvaro Uribe will make the final decision.

Gonsalves, Howes and Stansell were conducting a joint U.S.-Colombian counternarcotics mission when their aircraft made an emergency landing because of mechanical failure in February 2003.

FARC members patrolling the area reached the aircraft and killed two crew members. The FARC called Stansell, Gonsalves and Howes spies and declared them prisoners of war, the U.S. State Department said.

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