Colombia police scandal whistleblower flees from captors
A Colombian whistleblower who was kidnapped on Saturday has escaped his captors, police have announced.
Police captain Anyelo Palacios hit the headlines when he alleged he was the victim of a male prostitution ring within the police.
His stepfather said he was seized by armed men in Norte de Santander province late on Saturday.
Colombia's police chief Gen Jorge Nieto refused to speculate about the possible motives for the kidnapping.
Kidnappings have become a lot less frequent in Colombia since the government started peace talks with the country's largest rebel group, but abductions in remote rural areas where a smaller rebel group is active do still occur.
However, speculation is rife in Capt Palacios' case over whether he was taken for the incriminating information he is believed to have.
Gen Nieto told Colombian radio that Capt Palacios "escaped from his captors" who had held him in the village of Caliche in Norte de Santander.
He had been seized by four armed men as he was driving from the city of Cucuta to the town of Pamplona in north-eastern Colombia.
His 76-year-old stepfather, Arcilio Ortiz Valero, was in the car with Capt Palacios when they got stopped by the gunmen.
They ordered Mr Ortiz out of the car and told him they would return his stepson within the hour.
When the gunmen did not return, he alerted the authorities.
Capt Palacios has been at the centre of a scandal involving Colombia's national police since he told reporters he had been abused as a young cadet by a male prostitution ring operating within the force.
Colombia's Prosecutor General Alejandro Ordonez said that Capt Palacios' allegation was backed up by a separate complaint by a now retired police captain.
According to the complaint, young male police cadets were cajoled and threatened into having sex with higher-ranking officers and influential politicians.
A day after Mr Ordonez opened an investigation into the case, police chief Gen Rodolfo Palomino, who said he was "absolutely innocent", resigned.
To back up his allegations, Capt Palacios handed Colombian radio station La FM a video he says he took of himself and Senator Carlos Ferro in 2008.
The video shows the then-senator in a car talking to the man recording the video.
The man making the recording cannot be seen but can be heard clearly and his voice seems to match that of Capt Palacios.
The two discuss their sexual preferences and engage in talk of an explicit sexual nature.
However, there is no mention of a prostitution ring or any signs of coercion or cajoling.
The airing of the video by La FM Radio led to the resignation of Mr Ferro in February, who at the time was deputy interior minister.
But it also caused a backlash among Colombians who said it offered no proof of anything illegal and should therefore not have been made public.
The journalist who aired it, Vicky Davila, came under heavy criticism and was asked to resign by her bosses.
The investigation into the alleged prostitution ring is still under way and Capt Palacios is a key witness.