Kalli, Leszli 1980–

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Kalli, Leszli 1980–


Born 1980, in Colombia.






Secuestrada: Diario de una joven secuestrada por la guerrilla Colombiana, Espasa (Madrid, Spain), 2001, translation by Kristina Cordero published as Kidnapped: A Diary of My 373 Days in Captivity, Atria Books (New York, NY), 2007.


In April of 1999, eighteen-year-old Leszli Kalli set out by plane for Israel, accompanied by her father. Not long after takeoff, the plane was hijacked by members of the National Liberation Army, a Colombian guerrilla group also known as the ELN. For the next 373 days, Kalli and her father were held captive along with fourteen other passengers at an ELN camp deep in the jungle. Over a year would go by before the Colombian government would be able to negotiate with the ELN for the hostages' release. In an interview with Latina.com, Kalli commented about what the experience taught her: "I learned to value everything. Everyone has to deal with obstacles. Maybe not kidnapping, but maybe a lack of money? Now, those obstacles seem really small. I don't have any money? Who cares? I am alive, healthy and free. Now, I can face any difficulty and have the conviction that I will survive."

Kalli wrote about her experiences in the memoir Kidnapped: A Diary of My 373 Days in Captivity. Much of the book is taken directly from a diary that she kept throughout her ordeal, outlining the camp's organization, the constant threat of danger, and the boredom of captivity. A reviewer for Publishers Weekly found that the book "retains Kalli's vivid intensity, even as she's explaining the fear and tedium of daily life as a hostage." Writing in Kirkus Reviews, a critic remarked that "a prefatory essay, giving a bit more context about guerilla kidnappings in Colombia, would have been helpful."



Kalli, Leszli, Kidnapped: A Diary of My 373 Days in Captivity, Atria Books (New York, NY), 2007.


Kirkus Reviews, December 15, 2006, review of Kidnapped, p. 1257.


Latina.com,http://www.latina.com/ (October 11, 2007), review of Kidnapped.

Publishers Weekly Online,http://www.publishersweekly.com/ (February 5, 2007), review of Kidnapped.