<!--:es-->Colombian rebels may free lawmaker hostage: family<!--:-->

Colombian rebels may free lawmaker hostage: family

BOGOTA – A Colombian lawmaker held hostage by guerrillas could soon be released six years after rebel hijackers forced his plane to land on a rural highway and spirited him away into the jungle, his wife said on Wednesday.

News of the possible release of Jorge Eduardo Gechem came as families waited for three captive lawmakers whom the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, says it plans to hand over soon to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. The developments have fueled hope for other hostages held by Latin America’s oldest surviving rebel insurgency, including French-Colombian politician Ingrid Betancourt, also kidnapped six years ago, and three U.S. contractors held for five.

Gechem’s wife, Lucy, told local radio she had been given the news by Piedad Cordoba, a left-wing senator and Chavez ally who has worked as a facilitator with the FARC guerrillas on reaching a hostage release agreement.

“She said … that Jorge Eduardo is going to be released very soon and that we should wait for news in the days to come,” she said. “We’re going to celebrate today in Mass.”