MRTA on prisons in Peru

Chris, London 100423.2040 at
Sun Jun 30 00:57:52 MDT 1996

I am forwarding this report gleaned from ppn.peru
to provide more context on the situation in Peru.

The report is long and repetitive for the 4 different prisons
discussed. I have edited some points out, but the picture appears
similar. I have broken up paragraphs for easier reading.

Chris Burford

/* Written  9:49 AM  Jun 28, 1996 by VOZ_REBELDE at in
gn:ppn.peru */

Report about the situation of the political prisoners from
theRevolutionary Movement Tupac Amaru(MRTA)-Peru.To the
organisationspresent at the Berlin conference for humanity and against neo-

 1.-The maximum security prison in the naval base of Callao.

Among those imprisoned in this maximum security prison are:
Victor Polay Campos
memberof the national directorate of the MRTA and general commander of
thePeople's Army Tupac Amaru(EPT);Maria Lucero Cumpa Miranda, member of
thenational directorate of the MRTA and commander in the guerrilla;
andPeter Cardenas Schulte,member of the national directorate.

 All of the above have been condemned to life imprisonment after
brieftrials in front of a faceless military  tribunal (the judges
aremasked).The charges they faced were terrorism and betrayal of
thefatherland"-an invention of the dictatorship,designed to legalize"
itscontinual violations of international treaties and agreements,which
havebeen signed by Peru and supported by the congress of the
Republic.Theseinclude :the International Declaration Of Human Rights,the
AmericanDeclaration of the Rights and Responsibilities of Man,the
AmericanConvention of Human Rights,the International Pact of Political and
CivilRights,and the Convention against Torture and others,not to mention
thePeruvian Constitution itself.

Conditions in the prison at the naval baseof Callao.

Construction was finished by the Fujimori dictatorship
inMarch of 1993 and it is one of the greatest demonstrations of
itsirracionality and lack of respect for human dignity. It is
locatedwithin  the military installation of the marines,inside the naval
base inthe port of Callao,near Lima. It has been described as a tomb for
theliving",and its purpose is the physical,psychgological and
moraldestruction of our prisoners.Furthemore,it is part of the attempt
tointimidate anyone who dares to stand up against the dictatorship.
Itcomplies with a program originated in the darkest recesses of the
armyand secret service,designed to hinder,through fear, the formation of
arevolutionary coordination of the Peruvian people,and it is accompaniedby
a selection of measures of control,coercion and repression,known asthe
socio-psychological campaign."

This omionous prison-tomb containseight
cells made of reinforced concrete,which are located 8metres
belowground.This is part of the attempt to destroy the
inmates:physicalisolation,audio-isolation,visual isolation,darkness,lack
of space andpermanent maximum control.It is fitted with bugs and other
surveillancesystems, alarms,mines in various locations and permanently
operatingvideo cameras; which are monitored from a central control
room.What'smore there are walls with watch towers occupied by marines ,who
are armedwith long range rifles-FAL(made in Belgium.) The Cells.

The cells
arerectangular and measure 2m by 3m.On one side there is a heavy metal
doorclosed by interlocking bolts,the keys of which are in the possession
ofdifferent people,all officers of the marine's security corps. On
thelower part of these doors there is a small rectangular
window,throughwhich food is passed.It is designed so that our prisoners
have no contactwith the screws. Inside each cell,next to the door there is
a basin andtoilet.The supplies of water are controlled from the outside
and aresubject to time limitations.There is no electric light,the cells
arealways completely or partially dark. There is a 15 cm slot above the
doorof each cell at a height of about 2m,which allows natural light to
enterfor some minutes of the day. The cells are grouped in fours around
twosmall yards.Each cell faces another and has one to its side.These
groupsare located,as has been said,in holes dug 8m into the ground.

When ourcomrades were moved to this prison tomb,they were drugged
withsedatives,so they lost their sense of time and could have no idea as
towhere the cells were located. Thirty minutes recreation on the yard.
Theprisoners are allowed 30 minutes every twenty four hours alone on
theyard,where they may walk around ,read the bible or watch
preparedvideos. Correspondence and access to information. All
correspondence ismeticulously  controlled by security.There is no right
ofcorrespondence.The inmates are allowed no access to books.magazines
ornewspapers,nor are they allowed to watch television or listen to
theradio. Visits. These are permitted once a month and last for 30
mins.Onlyclose family members may visit.Inmates are allowed no physical
contactwith the visitors and the conversations are conducted via
electricalaudio equipment through shielded glass.All the conversations
aretaped.The visitors may bring clothes and food in cans to the
inmates.Allsuch things go through an exhaustive security check.The
visitors reachthe prison in hermetically sealed vehicles which allow them
noopportunity to identify where the cells are.

The attempt to force a  peaceagreement.

 Having  put our prisoners in total
isolation,thegovernment,via its intermediary Vladimiro Montesinos,offered
to improvethe conditions of the prisoners in return for signing a
peaceagreement".This would include opening a dialogue with the government
andthe renunciation of the armed struggle.This offer,was made personally
byMontesinos to general commander Polay Campos and was
immediatelyrejected.The government official reacted angrily and threatened
to haveour comrade shot.This rejection was followed by those of our
otherimprisoned comrades and the dictatorship responded by making
prisonconditions harder. Those who did submit to government pressure
havereceived priveleges from the authorities.

2 The maximum security prisonat Yanamo.

<SNIP> at  an altitiude of 3,800 m above sea level.The climate is
cold,withtemperatures around 15 c during the two months of summer and
going downto -10 c during the winter(which lasts all the rest of the
year.) [<from later >]The windows are unglassed and the door is a heavy
metal grill, which means our comrades are constantly exposed
tothe cold mountain winds.

Thisprison is built in the middle of a high Andian plateau and is an
islandin a desert of lonliness.It covers an area of approximately
10,000sq.m.On the outside a force of a hundred black berets" has control
,andthe complex is  guarded by deployments of troops in trenches and
armouredvehicles,lorries,vans and two helicopters,not to mention a mine
field onthe perimeter.Internal security is the responsibility of 300
members ofelite sections of the police force.

<snip> MRTA prisoners are held in Wing 4a.
The cells measure 3m by  3m andhouse two inmates.

Following a decree of the dictatorship all new
inmatesmust spend a year in complete isolation.After this they are kept in
theircells for 23 and a half hours a day,with half an hour recreation on
asmall yard where not more than 14 prisoners are allowed at one
time.Nonewspapers or magazines are allowed and all books,which must be
broughtby relatives, must first be censured and then may only be kept in
theprison library.

The prison spends the equivelant of 60 cents(of an
american dollar)per person per day on food and the quality is
poor..Inmates have suffered drastic weight lose, <snip> and tuberculosis.

Punishments,  <snip>  include: isolation in a 1m/2m
cellwith no light  for up to 48 days,or the stopping of visits.

Only  immediate family members are allowed to visit. The distant
location of the prison means that most can  only afford to visit once year.
No physical contact is  allowed and conversation must be made loudly
as the speakers are separated  by two grills with a large gap  in between.
Screws walkaround the  room continuosly during visits

3 The maximimum security prison at CastroCastro.

This prison is located in the outskirts of Lima and was a
model of high securityuntil a detachment of MRTA members managed to
liberate our comrades by the use of a 315m tunnel in 1990. <snip>
Soldiers are responsibile for security outside
and thepolice inside,many of them wear hoods to disguise their

Agreat problem in this prison is overcrowding,as three
prisoners mustoccupy a space of 6 sq. m along with their toilet for 23 and
a half hrsa day.In these conditions there are great health problems, such
as:bronchial and lung complaints,problems with digestive system
andtuberculosis.It is difficult to get medical attention, <snip>

Within the prison,as in the others, there is a room
where themilitary trialsare conducted  by masked judges.The prisoners are
broughtin hooded and torture and maltreatment are common.

4 The maximum securityprison at Chorrillos in the centre of Lima for women
accused of terrorist offences.

Although some of the staff is female, thesecurity service is all male.
This is the greatest difference from theother prisons, but everything else is the same.
<snip> the prison yards canbe seen through a few small windows.
The cells are 2m/3m and on one sidethere are two bunks directly in
front of a sink and wash basin.

A  comrademade the following denunciation toa visiting delegation from
theInternational Red Cross:"It is prohibited to have a comb,a
mirror,aphoto,a letter,listen to music,watch television,or listen to the
radio;itis prohibited to talk about politics or current events;it is
forbidden toread,write,smoke..."

These cases reflect the conditions throughout Peru,such as in jails
likeCajamarca, Ica, Arequipa,Huancayo, Huancavelica.Due to
thesesconditions, and the violation of basic human rights we ask that
theSolidarity organisations,non-governmental organisationsand
political organisations.....present here make declarations against this
contemptous abuse of human dignity.								

Berlin,May 1996

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