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Colombia Releases New Video of Rebel-Held Hostages


Colombian officials have released newly seized videos of rebel-held hostages that indicate the captives - who include three Americans and former presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt - may still be alive.

Officials say the images had a time stamp of October 24 and were seized in Bogota Thursday when three suspected members of the rebel Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, were arrested. Also recovered were a series of letters apparently written by the hostages.

Colombian President Alvaro Uribe says the images indicate that Betancourt, who was kidnapped by the FARC in 2002, had been subjected to torture. In the grainy video, a long-haired Betancourt appears gaunt and sad, staring blankly at the ground. No images of her had been seen since 2003.

The videos of Betancourt and other captives were released days after Mr. Uribe ended Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's role as mediator in talks to swap prisoners for hostages held by the rebels. Mr. Chavez responded by cutting diplomatic relations with Colombia.

The French-Colombian Betancourt was seized while campaigning for Colombia's presidency. The Americans were abducted a year later after their plane went down during a counter-narcotics mission.

The hostages' families have welcomed the latest development but expressed frustration at the lack of progress toward the release of their loved ones.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.

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