Conviction of Vladimiro Montesinos, who executed two students and a professor in federal agency basement, proves there was state terrorism, victims father said
Perus former spy chief Vladimiro Montesinos has been sentenced to 22 years in jail for the forced disappearance of two students and a university professor, whose bodies were burned in the basement of the countrys intelligence agency.
The students, Kenneth Anzualdo and Martin Roca, and professor Justiniano Najarro were tortured, interrogated then executed in 1993, the court found.
Montesinos, 71, who is already serving multiple sentences for human rights crimes, corruption and arms and drugs trafficking, is widely regarded to have been the minence grise to the former president Alberto Fujimori, who is himself serving a 25-year sentence for corruption and authorising death squad killings.
Nicolas Hermoza, the jailed former head of the Peruvian army, was also sentenced at the hearing.
Human rights groups have welcomed the ruling as confirmation that a secret detention centre existed at the army headquarters in Lima known as el Pentagonito, or the little Pentagon and that an oven was used to cremate the remains of victims on its grounds.
Anzualdos mother Merly said the sentencing was important because it punished those who were in power. Her son was one of some 15,000 Peruvians who were forcibly disappeared during the conflict between the Mao-inspired Shining Path guerrillas and the state.
We, as a family, can reclaim our dignity with this sentence and we thank all those who fought with us against impunity, she told the Guardian.
This sentence proves there was state terrorism which cut short the brilliant futures of many young Peruvians, said Javier Roca, whose son Martin was the other student victim.
Precious few former military or police officers have been sentenced for human rights crimes committed during the 1980-2000 conflict.
Ana Maria Vidal, Perus human right coordinator, said only two of the four sentenced in the trial were present for the sentencing; the others have joined the list of more than 20 former police and army officers who are fugitives from justice.
This case involved great cruelty, they were kidnapped, they were tortured and killed, they were cremated and to this day their remains are hidden from their families, said Gloria Cano, director of the Pro Human Rights Association.
A human finger bone was found in 2004 on the grounds of the army headquarters near where the oven was believed to have been. But the Peruvian armed forces have never given permission to search the grounds for human remains, Cano said.