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Police and Army in Peru convicted in "Baguazo" clash
Peru Policy, Army Brass Convicted for Deadly Clash with Indians
LIMA – A Peruvian military court handed down suspended prison sentences to three senior police and army officers in connection with the deaths of 24 cops and 10 civilians during June 2009 protests in the Amazonian town of Bagua.
What became known as the “Baguazo” was Peru’s deadliest confrontation in a decade.
Retired police Gens. Luis Murguruza and Javier Uribe and army Gen. Raul Silva Alban were convicted of dereliction of duty.
They received suspended prison sentences and were ordered to pay fines ranging from 4,000 soles ($1,428) to 10,000 soles ($3,571).
The Interethnic Association for the Development of the Peruvian Rainforest, or Aidesep, hailed the verdicts as confirmation that official misconduct can no longer be swept under the rug.
Aidesep was the main organizer of the 2009 protests in Bagua.
In a statement, Aidesep leader Alberto Pizango contrasted the action of the military court with President Alan Garcia’s decision to shield his Cabinet ministers from any accountability “for the regrettable events in Bagua.”
Though then-Premier Yehude Simon and the rest of the Cabinet resigned after the Baguazo, no member of the government has faced any judicial consequences.
Aidesep said Peru’s indigenous peoples are hoping that Garcia, who will leave office this summer, “has the valor to conclude his administration by cleansing the hands stained with blood.”
The events leading up to the Baguazo began in April 2009, when indigenous people opposed to laws – since repealed – giving Lima power to grant mining, logging and drilling concessions on Indian lands without consulting residents disrupted transport links and seized control of oil-industry installations, effectively shutting down a pipeline that carries crude oil from the Amazon interior to Peru’s northern coast.
Indians said the laws violated Peru’s commitment to international accords that require governments to consult with indigenous peoples about measures affecting their interests.
The dispute became violent on June 5, 2009, as police used force to evict the protesters from a key highway near Bagua.
Official figures indicated 24 police and 10 Indians died, but Aidesep said dozens of protesters were killed. EFE
Posted By Lopaka Purdy at 3:02pm on March 28, 2011
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