Colombian ex-guerrilla leader arrested, hospitalized upon prison release

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Jesus Santrich is suspected of participating in the trafficking of 10 tons of cocaine to the US between June 2017 and April 2018

A former left-wing guerrilla leader wanted by the United States for drug trafficking was hospitalized in police custody Saturday with what authorities said were self-inflicted arm wounds.

Officials at the Bogota hospital where Jesus Santrich was taken said the 52-year-old blind former leader of the FARC rebels, was in stable condition. In addition to the wounds to his arms, it said he had an "altered state of consciousness."

Santrich had been freed earlier in the day from prison following an order by the special court tasked with judging crimes committed during Colombia's half century of armed conflict -- but he was then immediately re-arrested in connection with the drug trafficking investigation that has the US seeking his extradition.

Washington, through its Bogota embassy, had strongly opposed Santrich's release and demanded that the ruling that set him free be "urgently" reviewed.

The Special Jurisdiction for Peace (JEP) had ordered the release to comply with the "non-extradition guarantee" that formed part of the 2016 peace accord that ended the FARC insurrection, converting the former rebels into a political party.

"Santrich has just been recaptured at the door" of the prison, the FARC political party said on Twitter.

Upon leaving La Picota prison in a wheelchair, he was immediately detained by public prosecutors before being taken away in a police helicopter.

In a statement, the public prosecutor's office said it "acted on" an arrest warrant related to the drug-trafficking investigation.

Santrich, whose real name is Seuxis Paucias Hernandez, is suspected of participating in the trafficking of 10 tons of cocaine to the United States in 2017 and 2018, crucially after the peace accord was signed in December 2016.

The agreement stipulated that former guerrillas who commit crimes after the pact's signing would be tried in a normal court, losing the benefits afforded by the accord -- such as a ban on extradition.

President Ivan Duque said he was "outraged" by the peace tribunal's decision, warning that the case was not "closed" and that he was willing to authorize Santrich's extradition.

The FARC, the Spanish acronym for the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, has denounced the accusations against Santrich as a "setup." He has always proclaimed his innocence.