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  • Supporters of Seuxis Paucias Hernandez, better known by his alias Jesus Santrich, hold posters asking for his freedom during a rally commemorating May Day in Bogota, Colombia May 1, 2018.

    Supporters of Seuxis Paucias Hernandez, better known by his alias Jesus Santrich, hold posters asking for his freedom during a rally commemorating May Day in Bogota, Colombia May 1, 2018. | Photo: Reuters

Published 5 May 2018

Jesus Santrich has been on hunger strike since April 9, saying his arrest is meant to disrupt the peace accord.

Jean Arnault, the head of the United Nation's Verification Mission in Colombia, has expressed his concerns about the health of Jesus Santrich after he visited him at the El Tunal hospital in Bogota. Santrich has been on a hunger strike since April 9.

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Colombia: 'Immediate Freedom for Jesus Santrich' FARC Demands

UN officials, representatives from Cuba and Norway, as well as diplomats from other countries that helped to broker the peace accords, accompanied Arnault to the hospital.

Santrich, born as Zeuxis Hernandez, was accused by United States authorities of planning to export 10 tons of cocaine to the North American country, but denies these charges and calls them a “legal montage.”

The Common Alternative Revolutionary Force (FARC) leader, who played a crucial role in the peace agreement with the government, was arrested in April by Colombian officials at the request of the U.S.' Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), who hope to have him extradited to the U.S.

“Jean Arnault, head of @MisionONUCol visited Jesus Santrich at the hospital and expressed his concern regarding his health and the importance that his high impact legal case complies with the guarantees of the process. The visit was accompanied by representatives of the guarantor countries," a tweet from the mission said.

On the same day of his arrest, Santrich began a hunger strike to demand respect for the Peace Accord signed in Havana between the former insurgent group and Juan Manuel Santos' government. He was transferred to El Tunal hospital on April 26 when his health started deteriorating but says he will bring his protest to the “last of the consequences.”

A U.S. federal judge had written to the Colombian attorney general on April 4 requesting the arrest of Santrich and asked that the Colombian authorities seize and make available all his electronic and computer storage systems, bank accounting and money transfer information, and any firearms associated with the accused.

Santrich is part of the ten FARC members that will become congress members on July 20, as part of the agreement reached with the government. His current legal situation could prevent him from this. The peace agreements, however, states that none of the former insurgents should be extradited for any crime committed before the signing of the accords.

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