Colombia judge nixes ban on film on hostage’s baby

BOGOTA, Colombia – A judge has spurned a prominent Colombian’s attempt to prevent the release of a feature film about the odyssey of the child born to her while she was a rebel hostage.

The mother, Clara Rojas, had argued allowing the film “Operation E” to be shown in Colombian theaters would harm the development of her son, Emmanuel, who is now 9.

But Judge Raquel Aya said, in a brief description of her decision posted to the Bogota court’s website on Wednesday night, that the film does “not violate the child’s basic rights.”

The court said Rojas, a 49-year-old attorney, was appealing the decision.

She could not immediately be reached for comment and declined to discuss the case after a court hearing Wednesday.

Rojas’ attempt to bar the film’s release in Colombia was criticized by anti-censorship advocates, including writers, film critics and even President Juan Manuel Santos.

One of the film’s producers, Farruco Castroman of Spain’s Zirco Zine, said it will likely be released in Colombia in March.

Emmanuel’s story, a heart-tugging tale from the depths of Colombia’s long civil conflict, has enthralled a nation that was particularly traumatized by rebel kidnappings in the 1990s and 2000s.

Rojas was campaign manager for presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt in 2002 when the two were seized by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, known as the FARC.

Rojas conceived Emmanuel with a rebel she has not identified and his arm was injured during a difficult cesarean section in the jungle. In 2004, rebels took the boy, then age 7 months, from his mother and the two were not reunited until the FARC released her three years later.

The film focuses on Jose Crisanto Gomez, the poor farmer to whom rebels initially delivered the boy. Rojas objected to that, saying Gomez held her son “captive” for seven months before turning him over the Colombia’s child welfare agency.