Ingrid Betancourt is "very ill," released hostage says

Other News Materials 28 February 2008 05:37 (UTC +04:00)

( dpa )- Ingrid Betancourt - the highest-profile hostage held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) - is "very ill," according to former Colombian legislator Luis Eladio Perez, who was released Wednesday by the leftist rebels.

"The state I saw her in, her anxiety, her worry upon understanding that she may be the last (hostage) to be released, in the end. ... Besides, she has a recurring liver problem," Perez told Colombian radio from Caracas. "That makes all of us Colombians join together to ask, to cry for, to demand the liberation of Ingrid and of all the other hostages."

Perez, like Betancourt a former legislator, said that he last spoke to Betancourt on February 4. He asked the international community to seek the prompt release of Betancourt, a presidential candidate when she was abducted by FARC on February 23, 2002.

"She has physical problems and is very badly treated by the guerrillas. She is in chains, surrounded by characters who have by no means made her life pleasant. We have to tell the world that," Perez said.

Betancourt holds dual French-Colombian citizenship, and French President Nicolas Sarkozy has made her release one of his foreign policy priorities.