Rescued hostage Ingrid Betancourt is urging French President Nicolas
Sarkozy to help win the release of hundreds of other captives still
held by Colombian rebels.
President Sarkozy gave Betancourt
France's highest award, the Legion of Honor, in Paris Monday, during
celebrations of Bastille Day the French national holiday.
who has both French and Colombian citizenship, was seized by Colombia's
FARC rebels six years ago. She and 14 other hostages were rescued
nearly two weeks ago (July 2) by Colombian soldiers masquerading as
During Monday's ceremony at the Elysee
Palace, Betancourt said France's campaign for her freedom provided hope
for her and her fellow hostages during the years they spent in chains
in the jungle camps. She told Mr. Sarkozy she is counting on him to
continue working for the release of the Colombian rebels' remaining
Betancourt's captors from the Revolutionary Armed
Forces of Colombia are thought to have more than 700 hostages still
under their control - people who were either kidnapped for ransom or
seized for political reasons.
Betancourt, a former candidate
for Colombia's presidency, says she will return to Colombia, but no
date has been set. She has discussed few details of the harsh and
brutal treatment she received, beyond saying that the time spent in
captivity was "hell" for the body, mind and soul.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.