A Dutch national and member of Colombia’s biggest guerrilla group was indicted on terrorism and weapons charges by a U.S. federal grand jury in Washington.
Tanja Nijmeijer, who joined the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia in 2002, and 17 other members of the group known as FARC were charged for their involvement in the kidnapping of three U.S. citizens, the U.S. Justice Department said in a statement.
The defendants face up to 60 years in prison if convicted, the statement said.
The 32-year-old Nijmeijer gained notoriety in Colombia after her personal diary was recovered following a military raid in 2007. In it, she complains of disillusionment with rebel commanders’ machismo and hypocrisy, as well as sexual promiscuity within rebel ranks.
“How will it be when we take power?,” she wrote in one entry. “The wives of the commanders in Ferrari Testa Rossas with breast implants eating caviar?”
In a videotaped interview from her jungle hideout this year with Radio Netherlands Worldwide, Nijmeijer describes how she first learned about Colombia’s guerrilla war when she was a student at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. She also states that she will be a “guerrilla until we are victorious or until we die, and there’s no turning back.”
Nijmeijer arrived to in Colombia in 2000 after writing her thesis on the FARC. She worked as an English teacher in the western city of Pereira before joining a group that delivered humanitarian aid to peasants caught in southern Colombia between clashing paramilitaries and rebels.
The three U.S. kidnapping victims mentioned in today’s indictment--Keith Stansell, Thomas Howes and Marc Gonsalves-- were photographing coca fields from a single-engine plane in February 2003 when its engine faltered, forcing a crash-landing into FARC-controlled jungles in southern Colombia. The three were held for more than five years before their rescue in July 2008.
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