Colombian judge orders jail for 2 suspects in kidnapping of Liverpool football player’s parents

BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — A judge ordered two suspects to jail in the kidnapping of the parents of Liverpool soccer player Luis Diaz, Colombia's prosecutor's office said Wednesday, accusing one of them of being close to the man. Was accused of having links with. The family that provided information about the victims.

Andrés Alquerres Bolivar and Marlon Rafael Brito are also accused of maintaining contacts with members of the National Liberation Army, or ELN, in planning and executing the Oct. 28 kidnapping in Barrancas, a town in La Guajira, in the northeast of Colombia.

Díaz's parents – Luis Manuel Díaz Jiménez and Silenis Marulanda – were abducted by a unit of the ELN at a gas station by armed men on motorcycles.

Marulanda was rescued by the police a few hours later, but Diaz's father was held captive by the ELN for 12 days. The father was released on 9 November near the Serranía del Perijá, near the border with Venezuela, where the Catholic Church and United Nations facilitators arrived by helicopter.

Prosecutors said in a statement that Alquerres Bolivar was a businessman in La Guajira who was contacted by an ELN member to help kidnap Díaz's parents. He reportedly went to Barrancas to convince "a person who was close to the Díaz family" to participate in the kidnapping and learn about the victims' daily routine.

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Rafael Brito allegedly helped arrange the kidnapping, including planning the deception whereby Diaz Jimenez and Marulanda were kidnapped at a gas station. Prosecutors say the football player's parents were there to fulfill a promise of support for the candidacy of a relative who was running for Barrancas council.

Both men have denied any involvement in the kidnapping and other allegations.

Díaz plays for English club Liverpool and the Colombia national football team.

After the kidnapping, special forces were deployed to search for Diaz's father in the mountain range spanning Colombia and Venezuela. Police also offered a reward of $48,000 for information leading to him.

The ELN acknowledged the kidnapping, saying it was a mistake and that its top leadership had ordered the father's release.

Diaz's parents were taken amid peace talks between the Colombian government and the guerrilla group.

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