A US court has sentenced the former Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and several of its leaders to pay US $ 36 million for the kidnapping of politician Ingrid Betancourt, it was announced Thursday.
The ruling, handed down Jan. 4 by Judge Matthew Bran, of the Pennsylvania federal court and announced Thursday by lawyers from the plaintiffs, mandates FARC must pay US $ 12 million for damages to the Betancourt's son, Lawrence Delloye, who filed the lawsuit in June 2018 and who was a teenager when his mother was abducted.
The US $ 12 million become US $ 36 million after legal fees are added, the dollars, Delloye's attorneys Scarinci Hollenbeck explained.
Delloye argued in his complaint that the FARC and its leaders had violated the Antiterrorist Law and that the kidnapping of his mother had caused him significant emotional stress.
While no amount of money can replace the time Lawrence Delloye lost without his mother or heal the trauma suffered at the hands of the FARC, we are proud to have been able to achieve some form of justice, attorney Robert Levy said in a statement.
The case could be brought before the US Justice because Delloye was a US citizen, born in San Bernardino, California, in 1988. The FARC and its members led the plaintiff to suffer damages associated with the separation from his mother, as suffer emotional stress by not knowing if his mother was dead or alive, or if he would be reunited with her, the lawyers had argued.
Of the 15 accused FARC leaders, only one, Juan José Martínez Vega, responded to the accusations, while the rest have not appeared in court in the last three and a half years.
Ingrid Betancourt, now 61 years old, was kidnapped in February 2002 during a part of her presidential campaign to an area of southern Colombia controlled by the FARC. In July 2008 she was rescued, along with 14 other FARC hostages, by Colombian troops posing as aid workers from an international humanitarian organization.