Amnesty International Urgent Action

Peru Condemned for Violating Treaties, Ill-treating Prisoners

(3 May 1997)
AI Index: AMR 46/22/97

Amnesty International is concerned that MRTA prisoners are being held in incommunicado detention and are therefore at risk of ill-treatment.

On 24 April 1997, in the wake of the resolution of the MRTA hostage crisis, Amnesty International appealed to the authorities to restore access to the MRTA prisoners. However, on 28 April, President Alberto Fujimori stated publicly that the visits to MRTA prisoners would remain suspended for the time being "for security reasons".

Access to MRTA prisoners, suspended during the hostage crisis, includes visits by family members, nuns and priests, lawyers and representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).

The suspension of independent visits effectively places all MRTA prisoners in a condition of incommunicado detention. By continuing to deny such visits, Amnesty International believes that Peru is contravening the UN Body of Principles for the Protection of All Persons under Any Form of Detention or Imprisonment which was adopted by consensus by the UN General Assembly in 1988. The Body of Principles states that prisoners cannot be prohibited access to the outside world, in particular access to family and lawyers, except for a matter of days in exceptional circumstances. Since MRTA members have been denied access to any independent visits since mid-January 1997, they have in effect been in incommunicado detention for over three months.

Background Information

On 17 December 1996, the MRTA took hostage some 700 guests attending a function at the Japanese Ambassador's residence in Lima. The vast majority of the hostages were released by the MRTA during the initial weeks of the hostage crisis. However, the MRTA kept captive 72 hostages. They included Peruvian government officials, the Ambassadors of Bolivia and Japan, and Japanese diplomats and businessmen. Despite protracted negotiations to find a peaceful solution to the crisis, on 22 April a special unit attached to the Peruvian armed forces stormed the residence. One hostage, two members of the special unit, and 14 MRTA hostage-takers were killed during the operation (see Amnesty International News Service 72/97 and 74/97, 23 and 24 April respectively.)

Recommended Action

Please send telegrams/faxes/express/airmail letters in Spanish or your own language:

Send your appeals to:

President: Presidente Alberto Fujimori
[Salutation: Sr. President / Dear President]
President de la Republica del Peru
Palacio de Gobierno
Plaza de Armas
Lima 1, PERU
Fax: +511 426 6770
Telegrams: Presidente Fujimori, Lima, Peru

Minister of Justice: Carlos Hermoza Moya
[Salutation: Sr. Ministro / Dear Minister]
Ministro de Justicia
Ministerio de Justicia
Scipion Llona 350
San Isidro
Lima, PERU
Fax: + 511 422 2654 / 422 3577
Telegrams: Ministro Justicia, Lima, Peru

Please send copies of your appeals to:

His Excellency Mr J Eduardo Ponce-Vivanco
The Embassy of Peru
52 Sloane Street
London SW1X 9SP England
Fax: 0171 235 4463

And, if possible, to the following human rights organization:

Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos
Jr. Tupac Amaru 2647
Lima 14, PERU

Please send appeals immediately.
Please do not send appeals after 12 June 1997.

If you have any queries about this Urgent Action or about the UA scheme in general, please contact:

Ray Mitchell
Amnesty International UK Section
99 - 119 Rosebery Avenue
London EC1R 4RE England