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Police charged with homicide for Bagua violence
9/2/2009
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Prosecutor files charges against 17 police officers for deadly clashes with indigenous protesters.

A state prosecutor has filed homicide charges against two police generals for the deadly clashes between police and indigenous protesters in Peru´s Amazon basin in June.

The charges, filed by Luz Rojas, a prosecutor in the Utcubamba province in Peru´s northern Amazonas department, are subject to a judge´s approval. She accused Luis Muguruza Delgado and Javier Uribe Altamirano, two police generals, of homicide for the deaths of six civilians who were killed when police moved in to break up a roadblock on June 5.

Thirty-three people in total were killed in the clashes that day – 10 native protesters and 33 police officers – according to official reports.

Indigenous demonstrators had been protesting since early April against a series of legislative decrees issued by pro-business President Alan Garcia to open Amazon lands to investment. The indigenous protesters said the laws, two of which were later repealed by Congress, sought to open their native lands to indiscriminate mining, oil drilling, agriculture expansion and other industries.

Rojas accused the police officers of employing a disproportionate use of force and weaponry against the protesters, because the officers used firearms while the indigenous demonstrators were armed with sticks and rocks, local media reported.

Rojas told Lima´s La Primera newspaper that she had received death threats since filing the charges, the first against state security forces in connection with the violence, and said Peru´s Attorney General Gladys Echaíz, her boss, brought her to her office to warn her that her job was in jeopardy.

“I fear for my life, for the life of my family,” Rojas said in an interview with the newspaper. “The threats are constant, even the attorney general told me that many prosecutors who did not adapt to law and order are now in jail or have been pulled aside.”
—Latinamerica Press.


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