Peru ex-spy chief Montesinos guilty of disappearances

September 29, 2016

September 28, 2016 (BBC) A court in Peru has sentenced the country’s former spy chief, Vladimiro Montesinos, to 22 years in jail for the forced disappearance of a professor and two students in 1993.

They were killed in detention and their bodies burned in an oven in the basement of the intelligence agency.

Former army chief of staff Nicolas Hermoza Rios was also found guilty of the same crime.

Montesinos, 71, is already serving a sentence for crimes against humanity.

He was widely regarded as the power behind the throne in President Alberto Fujimori’s government, which ruled Peru from 1990 to 2000.

The former president is also in jail over human rights abuses committed during his time in office, including authorising killings carried out by death squads.

Secret detention centre

This latest trial of Montesinos has confirmed the existence of a secret detention centre at the army headquarters in the capital Lima, the prosecution said.

Prosecutor Carlos Rivera said that “these crimes which occurred in the basement of the army intelligence service can’t but prove the existence of a systematic policy of violating people’s human rights”.

“There was an oven there, to burn bodies, it’s horrible,” he added.

He said that he suspected the number of those disappeared in the basement may be much higher than the three people for whose forced disappearance Montesinos was sentenced.

“Nobody builds an oven to burn just three bodies,” he said.

Students Kenneth Anzualdo and Martin Roca Casas and Professor Justiniano Najarro Rua were tortured and interrogated before being executed in the basement, the court heard.

They were among thousands who were forcibly disappeared during Peru’s internal conflict between 1980 and 2000.

Some were kidnapped by Shining Path rebels, while others were illegally detained by the military of the police who suspected them of links with the Maoist rebel group.