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Mexican student with FARC link seeks asylum in Ecuador

Mexico City - As the Mexican government pursues two investigations into the links between Mexico and Colombia's FARC rebels, a Mexican student who survived a Colombian forces attack on a FARC camp in the South American jungle has requested "political refuge" in Ecuador.

Lucia Morett, 26, was one of the three survivors in the March 1 attack on a Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, camp that sparked one of the region's worst diplomatic crisis in years.

Pamela Davis, an activist for the Latin American Human Rights Association, which represents Morett, told reporters in Quito Thursday that the request for political refugee status was for "protection" for Morett and the two other survivors, both Colombians, until it is clear they will not face prosecution of any type.

Four Mexican students were among the approximately 20 dead rebels in the attack that also killed FARC's deputy commander, Raul Reyes. He was one of the highest FARC leaders to be killed by Colombian forces.

Ecuador has released Morett from any culpability, but it's still unclear whether she could face court proceedings in Colombia or Mexico.

The Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora opened an investigation this month into whether Mexicans had committed any crimes abroad -- or been the victims of crimes.

"This is made within an investigation on the role the FARC plays in supplying drugs to the Mexican cartels," Medina Mora told reporters in Washington, D.C.

The Foreign Ministry, following a request by the Colombian government, also is probing whether Mexico harbors any FARC sympathizers.

"The Mexican government is worried that Mexican citizens might be involved with an organization like the FARC," the ministry said in a statement this month.

Saying their children were "massacred" by the Colombian government, family members of the slain students protested outside the Mexican Foreign Ministry Friday, calling for justice. They requested the Mexican government and other international organizations condemn the attack and open an investigation to find those responsible for their children's deaths.

The Mexican government responded by asking Colombia to compensate the families for their losses but met an immediate rebuff.

There is no reason why Colombia should pay compensation for "legitimate actions by national forces against terrorist groups," Colombian President Alvaro Uribe said in a statement Friday.

At the National Autonomous University of Mexico, where four of the five Mexican students were enrolled, the rector defended the university against criticism and accusations that its students are intertwined with an armed rebel group, one the United States has labeled a terrorist organization.

Rector Jose Narro Robles, addressing the school's university council, said such criticism could only hurt one of the great national institutions and increase problems throughout Mexico.

"We will always be open to the loyal and informed critic," Narro said, "but we will never accept infamy or lies as mechanisms to characterize...an institution such as ours," he said.

Ordonez reports for The Charlotte Observer

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