Lawyer for Human Rights Organisation Receives Death Threats

Update 106. 30 November 2004

On 23 January 2003, the human rights organisation Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos (APRODEH) launched their campaign to extradite former President Alberto Fujimori from Japan. That same month Gloria Cano, a lawyer for APRODEH, who spoke at the PSG Annual conference last year, was verbally abused and beaten by an unidentified group outside her office. The attack has never been investigated by the authorities.

Now APRODEH's work has provoked a further threat. On 20 October 2004, one day after the publication of their press release questioning the early release of Vladimiro Montesinos, Nicolás Hermoza Ríos and Roberto Huamán Azcurra, Cano received a death threat. The three government officials had been imprisoned for their alleged involvement in the shooting of three members of the armed opposition group Movimiento Revolucionario Túpac Amaru (MRTA).

The incident occurred in 1997 when 72 civilians were taken hostage by MRTA. It was claimed that during the military rescue operation three members of MRTA were extra judicially executed. Gloria Cano has represented the families of these men since 2001 and it has been suggested that this is why she has been targeted.

Cano filed a complaint with the Attorney General's office and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has requested information from the Peruvian State on their investigation of this complaint. But APRODEH has been subject to repeated threats in response to their campaigns against human rights violations committed under the Fujimori government and, despite filing complaints about all incidents with the Attorney General's office, these acts have yet to be investigated independently by the authorities. Amnesty International has suggested appeals to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice. They have requested appeals expressing concern about the intimidation of APRODEH staff, calls for their protection by the authorities and requests for the authorities to report on their investigation of all complaints regarding intimidation.

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    The Peru Support Group exists to promote social inclusion, sustainable development and the observance of human rights in Peru. To that end the PSG highlights shortcomings in observance of established norms, whether international or local in nature, in its research, advocacy and publications. In so doing, it underscores the relationships that exist within the political system, how institutions work, and the effectiveness of policies that aim to reduce poverty and inequality within the context of sustainable development.

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