Rebels say Colombia holding up American's release

The leftist FARC guerrilla group accused Colombia's government Tuesday of prolonging the captivity of a retired US Marine by blocking his release to a commission proposed by the rebels.

The FARC "has no interest in delaying, the handover" of Kevin Scott Sutay, an American who was captured June 10 in the southern department of Guaviare, FARC commander Ricardo Tellez told reporters.

"We've already sent the ball into the government's court, and we are waiting for it to facilitate the commission's presence," he said.

The FARC has said it was prepared to release Sutay to a "humanitarian commission" that includes representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross and Piedad Cordoba, a former senator who has often served as an intermediary.

But President Juan Manuel Santos has said he will not allow Cordoba to be part of the commission, only ICRC representatives.

Sutay, a veteran of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, is a recently retired Marine who was captured two days after arriving in the country as a tourist.

The US ambassador has said he had nothing to do with the US military mission in Colombia, a close US ally.

The FARC, however, said his capture was evidence of "the active participation on the ground of American military and mercenaries in counter-insurgency operations in which they appear under the euphemism of contractors."