Albion Monitor /News

New Evidence of Army Terrorism in Peru

by Abraham Lama

New evidence shows union leader supposedly killed by guerillas in 92 was probably assassinated by army
(IPS) LIMA -- The case of the 1992 murder of left-wing union leader Pedro Huillca -- reopened following new evidence against the Army Intelligence Service (SIE) -- could have an unpredictable political outcome.

"The intelligence services are being pilloried by public opinion, the press and opposition parties, and the outcome of the investigations in the Huillca case could worsen the division between President (Alberto) Fujimori and his military allies," said sociologist Gustavo Parodi.

The political media believe Fujimori -- who is hand in glove with the military -- will make every effort to keep himself clear of the activities of the intelligence services, for their human rights record could seriously jeopardize his chances for a second re-election in 2000.

Former SIE agent says Army murdered Huillca
The Huillca murder took place in December 1992, while Peru was involved in a full-blown civil war unleashed by the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) guerrillas.

The union leader's murder did not have as much impact then as it would now, as many other crimes were committed within the framework of the anti-subversive drive.

But in this pre-election, post-guerrilla era, the case is different.

Police then claimed Huillca was murdered by the Shining Path. In January 1993, they arrested and exhibited two men and a woman, all members of the guerrilla group, who confessed to the murder. One later withdrew the confession, saying it had been extracted under torture.

A secret branch of the Shining Path known as "El Diario" claimed responsibility for the murder, saying "it was the murder of a revisionist traitor," and threatening to attack Jorge del Prado and other Communist Party leaders as well.

But Mesmer Carles, the former SIE agent pardoned on November 28, opened a Pandora's box of accusations and counter accusations when he said Huillca had been murdered by the "Colina Group," an organization of SIE officers.

Carles, who had been locked up shortly before Huillca's murder on Oct. 28, 1992, is accused of being a Shining Path infiltrator. Carles also said the Colina Group had killed other left-wing union leaders, including the miners' leader, Saul Cantoral.

Carles claimed he had been falsely accused of being a double agent when he reported the Colina Group leaders were robbing the army by entering false reports of anti-subversive action that never took place.

Carles was the contact for another SIE intelligence officer, Clemente Alayo, who was ordered to infiltrate the Shining Path. In 1992, they both accused their superiors of keeping money due to them and other agents.

Alayo is still in prison, serving a life sentence, but Carles, given the same term, was included amongst the 38 "innocent prisoners" freed on Fujimori's orders at the end of last month.

Other accusations against Army intelligence
A man turned mystic in prison, with a wooden cross on his chest and a woolen hat on his head, Carles allowed himself to be filmed by an opposition member of parliament, social democrat Jorge del Castillo, the day before he was freed.

In the video, the former agent repeated the accusations he had made against the Colina group several months ago, when it seemed he had no hope of liberty.

General Juan Rivero Lazo, the former SIE leader accused by Carles of ordering the murder of Huillca, and Major Santiago Martin Rivas, the alleged leader of the criminal operation, claimed the former agent had been receiving psychiatric treatment while in prison and was therefore not a reliable witness.

Hubert Lanssier, a Catholic priest who is president of the Commission elected by the government to provide the names of prisoners to be pardoned for reasons of innocence or insufficient evidence, asked the press to leave Carles alone.

Huillca's family, who witnessed the murder, backed Carles' story earlier this month.

The union leader's widow, Martha Flores, said on December 8 that the Shining Path members arrested by police had not been the were not the people she saw commit the murder from her doorway as her husband climbed into his car.

Flores said she had seen Maj. Martin Rivas driving around near her home some days before the event and she recognized intelligence agent Mariela Barreto as the woman who had sought work as a domestic employee in her house one week before the crime.

Barreto disappeared several months ago, and her head was found in a rubbish dump on the outskirts of Lima.

Another former agent, Leonor La Rosa, who is accusing her superiors of torture during an investigation into leaks from the intelligence service, said Major Martin Rivas murdered Barreto.

Pedro Pretell, another SIE member supposedly involved in Huillca's murder, according to Carles, died in a mysterious traffic accident last February about the time Barreto disappeared.

Carles' declarations are being investigated by both a parliamentary commission and the Judicial Power at the same time.

Peru's Ministry of Public Affairs designated lawyer Isabel Brigida Heredia as Ad Hoc Prosecutor on the case. The first thing she did was issue a summons to Carles, who was given a week to recover from prison before having to present himself.

Meanwhile, the Congress National Security and Human Rights commissions have several investigations into the intelligence services on their hands.

Apart from the Barreto and La Rosa cases, the commissions are also investigating accusations that the intelligence services have been tapping the phones of opposition leaders.

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Albion Monitor December 23, 1997 (

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