direct control of the station. In fact, with one novel juridical maneuver, Fujimori has managed to make Peru tougher on foreigners than any other country in the Americas. He can charge international visitors with treason, although they are not even Peruvian citizens. Like domestic subversives, they are tried in military courts where hooded judges preside. The inevitable prison sentence makes life long-lastingly miserable for the foreign traitors passing through the faceless courts. Life became so miserable for four Chilean visitors, for example, that the Inter-American Human Rights Commission had to intervene. The Peruvian military courts sentenced three of the four to life in prison and the last one to thirty years. When the Inter-American Court, where the case was heard, ordered that the four be retried in a civil court with at least some evidence, Fujimori refused to comply, and withdrew Peru from the jurisdiction of the Commission. In a final effort to accommodate the Perp Prez, the Inter-American Court reviewed the case but found again for the detained Chileans. So, on October 10 of this year, Fujimori, in his typical in-your-face dictatorial fashion, appointed the lawyer who defended Peru in the case, Alberto Bustamante, as his new Prime Minister. This makes life complicated in Washington’s diplomatic circles, as you might imagine. The etiquette books don’t really cover this, and no one knows quite whether to invite Bustamante to tea or or or to urn snub him very, very coldly. Lawyers prosecuting Peru before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights point out that there is no precedent for non compliance with a Court sentence. Peru is the first case. In fact, Peru is the first two cases. The other case involves Marfa Elena Loayza Tamayo, a university professor who served five years in a Peruvian penitentiary. On a cold, cloudy day in August of 1993, she had just returned home when she was detained by heavily armed soldiers, handcuffed, and carted away. The troop jailed her in a cell with ten other prisoners. One was a student of Loayza’s, who had been arrested eighteen hours before. Threatened with life in prison, the girl had denounced twenty other people, among them Marfa Elena. Twelve days later, Loayza was dressed in prisoner’s garb and taken before the national and international press, to which she was presented as a criminal, a terrorist, and member of the Shining Path. She was sentenced by a military court to life in prison, based on evidence that consisted of the student’s allegation and a red blouse found at her house. During her five years in custody, she was tortured physically and mentally, and even after the Human Rights Commission overturned her conviction, she was held at the Penitentiary Los Chorrillos in a When ultimately found innocent and re leased, Loayza fled to Chile, where she un derwent fifteen months of treatment for the after-effects of torture. To date, she has not been indemnified by the government as or dered by the Court. Fujimori has defied the decision, although the Inter-Ameri can Court does not make such determina tions lightly. In fact, Marfa Elena Loayza Tamayo is the first case in which the Court has overturned the conviction of living person. All of the other times, the vindicated were already dead. Hospitality in a Peruvian prison is not only often impertinent and abusive. It is frequently fatal. So native-born Peruvians are not treated very politely by the Fujimori regime either. Vast parts of the coun tryside are under martial law, where all constitutional rights are suspended. The system of faceless military courts has incarcerated thousands of people for political “crimes.” In a recent eighteen-month period, half a million people were detained on suspicion of opposing the government. The regime has become notorious around the world for the torture and execution of political prisoners. Nonetheless, the President does not tolerate bad manners. Nor should the Peruvian Congress, because if it does, Fujimori will dissolve it as he did in 1992, and get another one that knows how to behave. With this in mind, four members of the Congress in Limp presented a motion deploring the “vexatious” treatment of the President at the hands of American Airlines, and characterizing it as inappropriate to the standing of the Head of State and Government. For his own part, Fujimori called his ordeal “inconvenient for the image of Peru.” Many dead prisoners might describe Fujimori himself the same way. Gail Woods maximum security pavilion for the most dangerous prisoners. Kind of makes that middle seat sound not so bad…. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19 NOVEMBER 12, 1999
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