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Amnesty Reportly Connected to Duarte Kidnap

October 1, 1985

SAN SALVADOR, El Salvador (AP) _ The legislative assembly has granted amnesty to a Costa Rican who informed sources say was one of 34 people kidnappers want freed in exchange for President Jose Napoleon Duarte’s daughter.

Forty-five of the Assembly’s 60 deputies voted Monday to grant amnesty to Julio Romero Talavera, 36. Thirteen members of the far-right Republican National Alliance, or ARENA, abstained from voting and two members were absent.

The legislature, in which Duarte’s Christian Democrats hold a majority, acted on a 1982 petition for amnesty from Costa Rica’s president, Luis Alberto Monge.

Romero Talavera was captured Jan. 23, 1981, in the eastern province of Usulutan when he landed an airplane containing arms for leftist guerrillas, the Defense Ministry said at the time.

The legislature’s action could be the government’s first step toward meeting demands of the gunmen who kidnapped Ines Guadalupe Duarte Duran, 35, three weeks ago.

Informed sources who spoke on condition they not be identified, said Romero Talavera was one of 34 prisoners Mrs. Durate Duran’s captors wanted freed.

The government has refused to confirm or deny that such a demand was made.

A group calling itself the Pedro Pablo Castillo Front has claimed responsibility for Mrs. Duarte Duran’s kidnapping. It says it belongs to the Faribundo Marti National Liberation Front, the leftist guerrilla organization that has been fighting the U.S.-backed government for the past six years.

In addition to Romero Talavera, the sources said kidnappers have demanded the release of Nidia Diaz, of the Central American Revolutionary Workers Party and Americo Araujo, the second-highest official of the Communist Party of El Salvador, sources said.

The sources said the government commission in charge of kidnap negotiations would be inclined to free some of the prisoners in exchange for Mrs. Duarte Duran; Ana Cecilia Villeda, who was abducted with her; and 24 city officials seized by the leftist guerrillas since May.

Sources have said the government only holds 22 of the 34 people the rebels want released.