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Peru: Trumped up Criminal Charge Against Human Rights Lawyer Mr. Jhon Kennedy Vega Carrascal
Letter by William Gomes Salem-News.com
Addressing the matter quickly and fairly is the only positive course of action.
(SALEM) - An attorney in Peru who is a noted human rights defender, is facing up to fifteen years in prison for an act he did not have anything to do with.
As our Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes explains to Sr Ollanta Humala Tasso, President of the Repúblic of Perú in his letter below, the criminal charge against Jhon Kennedy Vega Carrascal is solely motivated by his peaceful and legitimate activities in the defence of human rights, particularly his efforts to advise people facing forced eviction of their rights.
International laws protect people from this type of government retaliation and also against the forced evacuations of communities that Mr. Carrascal was speaking out over in the first place.
There are new discussions taking place worldwide about how to bring problems like this under arrest and we hope the Peruvian President is moved by the appeal of human rights activists like Mr. Gomes because stories of this nature reflect terribly on a nation when it comes to things like tourism and economic welfare.
Obviously there are always one or more parties that stand to financially benefit from land seizures such as the one this attorney was protesting. Addressing the matter quickly and fairly is the only positive course of action.
Sr Ollanta Humala Tasso
Presidente de la República del Perú
Palacio de Gobierno
Jirón de la Union
s/n 1ra cuadra
I am William Nicholas Gomes, Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com.
I came to know about the situation from Front Line - The International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders.
Human rights lawyer Mr Jhon Kennedy Vega, who is currently on trial on charges of aggravated violence against a public authority, could face up to 15 years imprisonment if he is found guilty on 17 September 2012.
The lawyer is the legal representative of a group of people affected by forced evictions in the vicinity of Pómac Forest in Lambayeque Province.
Jhon Kennedy Vega Carrascal has been accused of being the instigator of the violence which resulted in the deaths of three police officers and the injuries sustained by other police officials on 20 January 2009 during the carrying out of a forced eviction. If found guilty, he could face the sentence of up to 15 years imprisonment under Article 367 of the Penal Code.
The charges brought against the human rights defender supposedly stem from a talk he gave to a group of people in Palería, Lambayeque Province, on 10 January 2009.
In this talk, Jhon Kennedy Vega Carrascal spoke about the injustice of the then imminent forced evictions and advised the local population on their rights and the defence of their rights using non-violent means.
He asserted that the forced eviction of approximately 600 families who had been living in the community they had constructed 20 years prior would be in contravention of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, highlighting the fact that the victims of the forced evictions were not going to be resettled elsewhere or compensated for the value of their homes or their crops.
At no point did he mention or encourage the use of violence.
These charges have been brought against the human rights lawyer in spite of the fact that those individuals accused of carrying out the acts of violence during the eviction have stated that they do not know Jhon Kennedy Vega Carrascal and that they were not present at the talk he gave on 10 January 2009. Furthermore, the authorities have failed to produce any evidence linking the human rights lawyer to the accused.
The Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos – CNDDHH (National Coordinating Committee of Human Rights) submitted an amicus brief to the court on 12 September 2012, highlighting inter alia the fact that in order for a person to be considered the instigator of a crime, he or she must have been in communication with the person who carried out the crime.
I believe that the criminal charge against Jhon Kennedy Vega Carrascal is solely motivated by his peaceful and legitimate activities in the defence of human rights, particularly his efforts to advise people facing forced eviction of their rights.
I urge the authorities in Peru to:
- Immediately drop all charges against human rights lawyer Jhon Kennedy Vega Carrascal, as it is believed that these measures have been taken against him solely on account of his legitimate and peaceful work in defence of human rights;
- Guarantee in all circumstances that all human rights defenders in Peru are able to carry out their legitimate human rights activities without fear of reprisals and free of all restrictions including judicial harassment.
William Nicholas Gomes
Human Rights Ambassador for Salem-News.com
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Salem-News.com Human Rights Ambassador William Nicholas Gomes is a Bangladeshi journalist, human rights activist and author was born on 25 December, 1985 in Dhaka. As an investigative journalist he wrote widely for leading European and Asian media outlets.
He is also active in advocating for free and independent media and journalists’ rights, and is part of the free media movement, Global Independent Media Center – an activist media network for the creation of radical, accurate, and passionate telling of the truth. He worked for Italian news agency Asianews.it from year 2009 to 2011, on that time he was accredited as a free lance journalist by the press information department of Bangladesh. During this time he has reported a notable numbers of reports for the news agency which were translated into Chinese and Italian and quoted by notable number of new outlets all over the world.He, ideologically, identifies himself deeply attached with anarchism. His political views are often characterized as “leftist” or “left-wing,” and he has described himself as an individualist anarchist.
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