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Peru’s ousted president seeks meeting with rights inspectors

#Perus #ousted #president #seeks #meeting #rights #inspectors

Peru’s ousted president Pedro Castillo called from prison Thursday for a visit from inspectors of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, who are in the country to probe widespread civil unrest.

On the last day of the IACHR technical visit, Castillo insisted on Twitter he had been “arbitrarily deprived” of his rights, and demanded an “urgent” meeting with the team in the presence of his defense lawyer.

Castillo was impeached and arrested on December 7 after he tried to dissolve Congress to rule by decree. 

Since coming to power in July 2021, he faced vehement political opposition on all fronts and investigations into numerous graft claims.

After his failed self-coup, Castillo now stands accused of rebellion and conspiracy and has been ordered held in pre-trial detention for 18 months.

The ouster of the former rural school teacher and union leader caused protests countrywide, with Peru’s rights ombudsman reporting 22 people killed in clashes and more than 600 injured.

The IACHR has said its technical team on the ground in Peru had received “information on violations of human rights in the context of the protests.”

Castillo on Thursday published a letter signed by his lawyer Wilfredo Arturo Robles Rivera the previous day, addressed to the international community and to Peruvians.

In it, the lawyer claimed there had been no word from the IACHR team despite assurances that a prison visit was on its agenda.

Rivera said he feared the meeting might not happen due to “political pressure” and cautioned against the IACHR visit serving “the interests of the de facto government” over those of “constitutional president” Castillo.

– ‘Killings of protesters’ –

The IACHR, for its part, tweeted Thursday that its delegation was meeting authorities and civic organizations in Lima and Ayacucho to gather information “on the institutional crisis and the protests.” 

It did not mention Castillo’s request.

Castillo was replaced by his vice president Dina Boluarte, who should serve until new elections — brought forward by Congress from 2026 — are held in April 2024.

Her reign is widely regarded as illegitimate by Castillo backers, who have taken to the streets in their thousands to demand his release despite facing six separate criminal investigations.

Protesters also want Boluarte to resign and for Congress to be replaced.

Human Rights Watch, meanwhile, urged the Peruvian authorities Thursday to “conduct prompt, thorough, and independent investigations into at least 21 killings of protesters.”

It should also probe “allegations of excessive use of force by security forces, and acts of violence by some protesters,” said the rights group.

Castillo’s wife Lilia Paredes, granted asylum in Mexico where she arrived with the couple’s two children on Wednesday, has asked for “special attention” to be paid to the health of her husband.

“The future of our country is now in the hands of the people,” she said on Twitter.

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#Perus #ousted #president #seeks #meeting #rights #inspectors

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