Sunday, 6 July 2014

Peruvian interior minister accused of murder

The new Peruvian interior minister, Daniel Urresti, has been accused of the murder of a journalist in 1988 when he was an intelligence officer fighting the Shining Path.

Ideele Radio broke the news that Urresti - a former soldier - is alleged to have been involved in the killing of Hugo Bustíos, of Caretas magazine, in 1988. Bustios was investigating extrajudicial killings in the Ayacucho region, which was the centre of the violence. He was unarmed and riding a motorbike when he was killed by the army.

Two military men, Víctor La Vera Hernández and Amador Vidal Sambento, were later convicted of the crime. Vidal has now pointed the finger at Urresti as having given the order.

It almost beggars belief that someone could take up a ministerial position with this hanging over them, but Urresti claims president Ollanta Humala knew of the accusation when he was appointed.

The interior minister denies that he ever met Bustios, and says he had no involvement in his murder. He stresses to La Republica that he was "brought up to have respect for life" and claims there is no proof of his guilt.

Humala appears to be backing Urresti so far, saying the government "does not see his guilt" and "believes in the presumption of innocence". Writing in El Comercio, Fernando Rospigliosi points out that some think that if "Carlos" (the nom de guerre of Ollanta Humala) can be president, why can't "Arturo" (Daniel Urresti) be interior minister?

The case is certain an illustration of the unresolved cases at the heart of the Peruvian political system. When it will be resolved remains unclear, since the prosecutor has indicated that he has other major cases to process first.

Ministro Urresti está procesado por el asesinato de periodista Hugo Bustíos (Ideele Radio)
Ministro Urresti es procesado por asesinato de periodista (La Republica)
Daniel Urresti: “No existe ninguna prueba sobre mi supuesta participación en el crimen de Bustíos” (La Republica)
Ollanta Humala: no vemos culpabilidad en Daniel Urresti (La Republica)
‘Carlos’ y ‘Arturo’, por Fernando Rospigliosi (El Comercio)

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