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Colombian rebels urged to release Ingrid

world Updated: Apr 08, 2008 21:23 IST

Brazil's government on Tuesday denounced the six-year captivity by Colombian rebels of Ingrid Betancourt, a politician with dual Colombian and French nationality, and called for her release.

In a statement, the foreign ministry called the rebels' practice of kidnapping "unacceptable" and called for "Ingrid Betancourt and other citizens in the hands of the FARC, especially those whose health is a subject for concern, to be immediately freed."

It also noted Colombia's promise to amnesty Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) guerrillas who surrendered, and said "this path should deepened."

Betancourt, 46, was snatched by the FARC in February 2002 as she campaigned for the Colombian presidency.
She is the most high-profile of 39 "political" hostages the FARC is holding in hopes of exchanging for 500 of its own members in Colombian and US jails.

In all, the Marxist rebel group is believed to detaining around 700 people. It uses kidnapping and Colombia's narcotics trade to finance its four-decade-old insurgency.

France sent a jet with doctors and diplomats on board to Colombia last week in hopes of getting access to Betancourt, who was said to be gravely ill.

The rebels have made no contact, however, and have issued a statement saying they would release no more hostages until a prisoner swap is negotiated.