Freed US Hostages Bare Brutal Life With 'Animals'

Captives chained by the neck
By Peter Fearon,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 11, 2008 3:48 AM CDT
Former hostage Ingrid Betancourt, center, holds the hands of her children Melanie, and Lorenzo after her release.   (AP Photo/Ricardo Mazalan)
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(Newser) – Three freed American hostages who spent more than five years as captives of Colombian guerrillas paint a harrowing picture of their treatment in a CNN interview. Keith Stansell, Marc Gonsalves and Thomas Howes, rescued last week, spent much of their time in captivity chained by the neck, and were subjected to forced marches, harsh conditions and constant threats, they report.

 "They don't recognize humanity, they don't recognize human rights. They're animals. They're terrorists," Stansell said of the rebels. The hostages agreed the worst pain was separation from their families. Stansell's twin sons were born while he was captive. When he returned home, an emotional Stansell recalled, "I opened the door. I hear, 'Papa, Papa, Papa,' and they just hit me. It was like I had never even been gone."