Venezuela prosecutor opposes extradition of rebel

December 22, 2011 - 2:51 PM

CARACAS, Venezuela (AP) — Venezuela's top prosecutor said Thursday that she doesn't think Colombia has provided a proper request for the extradition of a Colombian rebel commander who was captured in Venezuela.

Attorney General Luisa Ortega said she has provided her opinion to the Supreme Court, which will decide on Colombia's extradition request.

Guillermo Torres Cueter, better known by the alias "Julian Conrado," was captured in southwestern Venezuela in May, and the authorities say he is a commander of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC.

Ortega told state television that the accusations Colombia cited in its extradition request were "different from the crimes on which he is wanted."

Colombian officials did not immediately react to Ortega's announcement.

The authorities have described Torres as the most senior FARC commander captured since 2004 in Venezuela.

He is wanted by Colombian authorities on charges of homicide, kidnapping and rebellion.

The U.S. government had also offered a $2.5 million reward for information leading to Torres' capture. The U.S. State Department said he participated in directing the FARC's production and distribution of cocaine bound for the United States and other countries.

Venezuela's Communist Party, which is allied with President Hugo Chavez's government, has joined with some human rights organizations in calling for Venezuela to grant asylum to Torres.

Chavez said in June that Torres' capture indicated that cooperation between Venezuela and neighboring Colombia was producing positive results. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos also praised Torres' capture, which was carried out by Venezuelan authorities with help from Colombian officials.