FARC Leader Leaves Hospital, as Govt Announces Release of Former Rebels

Featured FARC Leader Leaves Hospital, as Govt Announces Release of Former Rebels

The Colombian Justice Minister says a new decree on the detainees will be made on Monday.

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia - People's Army (FARC-EP) leader Jesus Santrich, has been discharged from hospital, 24 hours after he was admitted in a critical condition following his 18-day hunger strike.

Santrich started the action to demand the release of all imprisoned FARC members, as part of the agreement made six months ago by the Colombian Congress, the Amnesty and Pardons Act.

A FARC secretariat member, Pablo Catatumbo, told a news conference at the Shaio medical clinic in Bogota on Friday that he had been suffering from a hypoglycemic condition.

Later, the group congratulated him on his recovery.

"We greet the comrade @JSantrich_FARC who was discharged. Our priority is to release political prisoners. #PeaceisLiberty"

Santrich's departure from the clinic, came after an announcement by the Colombian Justice Minister Enrique Botero that the government will issue an order shortly to release more imprisoned FARC members.

"It will be a decree that overcomes obstacles … for the materialization of the freedoms and to obtain the fulfillment … of the Final Agreement of Peace," stated Botero, according to a bulletin issued by his ministerial dispatch.

He also said "we are working 24 hours on the subject, precisely to achieve compliance with the terms in which it has been agreed...The decree will come out next Monday, July 17".

The United Nations had warned the Colombian governement that the prisoners' continuing detention more than six months after the National Congress's approval of the Amnesty Law could jeopardize the peace process agreed last November.

The FARC, the largest leftist guerrilla group in the country, handed in the last of its weapons to the UN at the end of June.

The disarmament marks a major milestone, as former members transition into a political entity after more than 52 years of conflict.

The path to peace, however, still faces obstacles.

Murders of activists have been on the rise as right-wing paramilitaries continue to have a strong presence in the country, moving into areas abandoned by the FARC.

While some other policies have been stalled by the Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos, leading to concerns within the group's leadership that the full conditions of the peace agreement may not be achieved.

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