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Cablegate: Uribe Administration Supports Extraditions At

VZCZCXYZ0000
PP RUEHWEB

DE RUEHBO #8660/01 3602134
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 262134Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY BOGOTA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0639
INFO RUEHCV/AMEMBASSY CARACAS PRIORITY 9707
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ DEC 9150
RUEHPE/AMEMBASSY LIMA PRIORITY 5743
RUEHME/AMEMBASSY MEXICO PRIORITY 8203
RUEHQT/AMEMBASSY QUITO PRIORITY 6447
RUEHGL/AMCONSUL GUAYAQUIL PRIORITY 4238
RUEAWJC/DEPT OF JUSTICE WASHDC PRIORITY

UNCLAS BOGOTA 008660

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER SNAR CO
SUBJECT: URIBE ADMINISTRATION SUPPORTS EXTRADITIONS AT
RECORD LEVELS

REF: BOGOTA 08384


-------
SUMMARY
-------

1. (SBU) The GOC processed a record number of 164
extraditions in 2007, surpassing the previous record of 134
set in 2005. Under President Uribe, 581 defendants involved
in crimes such as drug trafficking, extortion, money
laundering and terrorism have been extradited to date to the
United States. Among those extradited in 2007 were 11
members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC)
and three members of the United Self Defense Forces of
Colombia (AUC). The GOC has suspended 11 former AUC leaders'
extraditions due to their participation in the AUC peace
process; the USG continues to seek their extradition. End
Summary

--------------------------------------------- -------
GOC COMMITMENT TO EXTRADITIONS LEADS TO RECORD YEAR
--------------------------------------------- -------

2. (SBU) Colombia extradited a record number of 164
defendants to the United States for prosecution in 2007,
surpassing the previous record of 134 set in 2005. Under
President Uribe, 581 individuals have been extradited to the
United States to date, accounting for 88% of all GOC
extraditions to the United States since 1991. This year, the
GOC extradited 11 FARC and three AUC members. President
Uribe has suspended the extradition of eleven former AUC
members due to their cooperation in the AUC peace process.
The Colombian Supreme Court has ruled that the 11 are legally
eligible for extradition to the United States, but the GOC
has made clear it will not extradite them unless they violate
their peace process obligations. The USG continues to seek
their extradition.

3. (SBU) In 2007, Post continued receiving strong
cooperation from the GOC's judicial and executive branches to
facilitate extraditions. President Uribe has publicly stated
Colombia's extradition policy is a "non-negotiable" aspect of
the bilateral relationship despite its domestic unpopularity.
He reiterated this commitment at a meeting with Senator
Harry Reid during his visit to Bogota on November 28
(reftel). Although only legally required to review
indictments, the Supreme Court consistently reviews all
available information, including the Embassy's diplomatic
notes and the prosecutor's and agent's affidavits, to help
develop a strong case.

-----------------------
CASE HIGHLIGHTS OF 2007
-----------------------

4. (SBU) The GOC extradited FARC leaders Erminso Cuevas
Cabrera and Jorge Rodriguez Mendieta on drug trafficking
charges in September and November respectively. They are the
first FARC leaders to be extradited under a District of
Columbia March 2006 cocaine trafficking indictment, which
accuses the top 50 FARC leaders of supervising the production
and distribution of thousands of pounds of cocaine. Their
trials are currently scheduled for 2008.

5. (U) Ten Colombian and Venezuelan nationals were
extradited this year for attempting to assist FARC members
obtain counterfeit American visas to enter the U.S. The
group included former immigration officers in Colombia's
Department of Administrative Security (DAS). They were
convicted in the Federal District Court in the Southern
District of Florida for conspiracy to commit alien smuggling.

6. (U) The GOC extradited AUC members Davinson Gomez Ocampo
and Hector Rodriguez Acevedo to face federal charges in the
Eastern District of New York and the Southern District of
Florida respectively. Gomez Ocampo was convicted of drug
trafficking charges. Rodriguez Acevedo, who was serving as
city council member in Santa Marta at the time of his arrest,
was convicted of providing material support to the AUC. This
was the first conviction against an AUC member in the United
States concerning material support for a terrorism group.

7. (U) Eduardo Restrepo-Victoria, (aka "El Socio")
allegedly one of the principal narcotraffickers in the
Department of Tolima, was extradited to the U.S. on December
10. He organized the transportation of both Peruvian and
Colombian cocaine through Mexico to the United States.

8. (U) FARC leaders Ricardo Palmera (aka "Simon Trinidad")
and Anayibe Rojas Valderama (aka "Sonia"), who were
extradited in 2004 and 2005 respectively, were the first FARC
leaders to be convicted in the United States for
terrorist-related activities. Simon Trinidad was convicted
for his role in conspiring to take three American citizens
hostage. He faces a retrial for drug trafficking offenses in
the District of Colombia in March 2008 after the first trial
resulted in a hung jury. Sonia was convicted of cocaine
trafficking.

Nichols

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