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Swedish journo found guilty over ties to FARC

12 Sep 2012, 10:36

Published: 12 Sep 2012 10:36 GMT+02:00

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Joaquin Perez Becerra, who runs the New Colombia News Agency (Anncol), a website critical of the Colombian government and considered by Bogota to be closely linked to FARC, was to be sentenced later this month.

Born in Colombia, Perez Becerra acquired Swedish citizenship after moving there more than two decades ago as a political refugee.

He established the agency in 1995 and began publishing messages from the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), Latin America's oldest insurgency.

He was arrested in April 2011 while passing through Caracas and handed over to Colombian authorities, who initially accused him of being the FARC's top official in Europe, where he was allegedly in charge of raising funds.

He has never been formally charged with financing terrorism, however.

Perez Becerra, who denies being part of the FARC and insists he is an ordinary journalist, can appeal the conviction or seek to serve his sentence in Sweden.

Speaking with the TT news agency, his attorney claimed Perez Becerra's conviction was political and had nothing to do with the rule of law, but was simply meant to further the interests of the Colombian state.

"It's an absurd ruling," Rodolfo Rios told TT by telephone, adding that he plans to appeal the conviction.

The conviction, announced Tuesday, comes as Bogota and the FARC prepare to hold their first peace talks in a decade next month, aimed at ending Latin America's longest-running armed conflict.

Story continues below…

The FARC, which has been at war with the Colombian government since 1964, has suffered a string of military setbacks in recent years but still has some 9,000 fighters, mainly in the country's remote jungles.

TT/AFP/The Local

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Your comments about this article

11:55 September 12, 2012 by themoron
themoron says:

Perez Becerra should not worry at all. Bildt and Reinfeldt are ready to pay whatever is needed to get him out of jail, if he goes there. What is the Swedish taxpayers money for?

SIDA is moving in this direction already.

In the meantime, he can pray to God that in Colombia is a "pardon law" if he recognizes all his wrongdoings against the government on behalf of the FARC.

FARC will have now around 8,999 fighters.
12:13 September 12, 2012 by Eric1
A "journalist" with ties to left wing groups. I'm shocked.
12:26 September 12, 2012 by DiegoP
Please stop calling them left wing group, they are terrorists. They have used kidnapping for ransom and drug traffic for decades as a main way for financing. And they are certainly no "people's army" at all.
12:59 September 12, 2012 by byke
Wasn't FARC found in possession of lots of SAAB made weapons from Sweden?

I wonder how the government will try and tie this to another case such as that as wikileaks in an attempt to associate the 2 for political gain.
20:44 September 12, 2012 by johan rebel
A Swedish journalist? Swedish? Gimme a break!

The Swedish taxpayers will soon be begging him to apply for a transfer to a Swedish penitentiary, so they can foot the bill.
22:51 September 12, 2012 by philster61
He is "Farc" ed
09:26 September 13, 2012 by ealax
FARC is a cancer in Colombia, in case you are blind and think it is a "left wing group", how many of these groups recruits children between 10-14 to brain wash them and make them fight against the civilians mostly and some times against the army?
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