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Last Updated: Monday, 9 July 2007, 21:25 GMT 22:25 UK
Farc leader guilty of US kidnaps
Farc commander Ricardo Palmera
Mr Palmera denied any role in kidnapping the Americans
Farc rebel leader Ricardo Palmera has been convicted by a US jury of plotting to hold three Americans hostage after they were captured in Colombia.

The three US government contractors were taken by Farc after their aircraft crashed in the jungle during a mission to find illegal drug crops in 2003.

Though convicted over the hostages, who remain in Farc hands, the jury is still deliberating terrorism charges.

Sent to the US in 2004, Palmera is the most senior Farc rebel yet tried there.

Palmera, known by his nom de guerre Simon Trinidad, was found guilty of conspiracy to commit hostage taking and now faces up to 30 years in prison.

When this trial is fully concluded he will go on trial again to face drugs charges.

The three kidnapped Americans - Thomas Howes, Keith Stansell and Marc Gonsalves - are still thought to be held by Farc in south-eastern Colombia.

The left-wing rebel group Farc has been fighting the Colombian government for more than four decades.

Palmera's first US trial over the hostage-taking ended in a mistrial in November 2006 after the jury was not able to agree on a verdict.

He was captured in Ecuador and later extradited to the US in late 2004 by Colombia.

He has already been convicted by a Colombian court of kidnapping and rebellion and sentenced to 35 years in jail.

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12 Jul 03 |  Country profiles
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06 May 03 |  Americas

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