Former hostage Betancourt withdraws compensation demand

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Franco-Colombian ex-hostage Ingrid Betancourt on Tuesday withdraw a widely-panned demand for compensation for nearly six years in captivity in Colombia.

Betancourt's lawyer, Gabriel Devis, withdrew the demand for some eight million dollars for damages to the 48-year-old and her relatives during her captivity in the jungle, according to the attorney general's office.

The defense ministry had said the demand was for some 6.9 million dollars, but the attorney general's office said the total request, for Ingrid, her sister, her mother and her two children, was for around eight million dollars.

The June 30 demand caused outrage in Colombia and led the former senator and presidential candidate to defend herself in a tearful prime-time television interview from New York on Sunday.

Betancourt then criticized the government's handling of her case, saying she was stripped her of bodyguards when she was running for president and allowed to travel on the road controlled by leftist guerillas where she was nabbed.

The government says Betancourt had assumed responsibility for the journey.

Members of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia captured Betancourt and her assistant Clara Rojas in February 2002.

Betancourt and 14 other hostages -- including three US military contractors -- were freed by the Colombian military on July 2, 2008.

© 2010 AFP

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