The FARC congress member-elect Jesús Santrich has ended the hunger strike he began when he was arrested by Colombian authorities on 9 April. The arrest followed an extradition request from the United States that sought to force Jesus Santrich to stand trial in the US on charges of conspiracy to traffic drugs. Santrich’s defence team, the FARC and supporters say that he is the victim of a setup.
The decision to provisionally end the hunger strike comes after Colombia’s Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP), the transitional justice element of the 2016 peace agreement, suspended the extradition request while the charges are reviewed, including the dates on which the offences are alleged to occur. The US and Colombian governments have argued that the offences took place after the signing of the peace agreement in November 2016, meaning Santrich, who was a lead FARC negotiator during the talks, should be subject to the standard justice system.
Having spent 40 days no hunger strike, Santrich has lost around 15 kilos and was hospitalised on 26 April after a sharp deterioration in his health. Over 4,000 people signed a letter asking him to reconsider his decision to die rather than face trial, while former Uruguayan president Pepe Mujica also encouraged him to ‘keep faith in life and in those who fight for all that has been neglected’.
Santrich remains in detention in Bogota.