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Peru's ex-spy chief sentenced in forced disappearances, burning of bodies

The trial confirmed the existence of an oven in the intelligence service basement in which bodies were burned.

By
Ed Adamczyk
The Justice Ministry in Lima, Peru, where former intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos was sentenced to a 22-year prison term Tuesday for the forced disappearance of three people in 1993. Photo courtesy of the Peruvian Justice Ministry
The Justice Ministry in Lima, Peru, where former intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos was sentenced to a 22-year prison term Tuesday for the forced disappearance of three people in 1993. Photo courtesy of the Peruvian Justice Ministry

LIMA, Sept. 28 (UPI) -- A Peruvian court sentenced Vladimiro Montesinos, Peru's former intelligence chief, to 22 years in prison after he was found guilty of the forced disappearance of three people.

The sentence came Tuesday; Montesinos, 71, is currently serving a term for crimes against humanity during the 1990-2000 administration of President Alberto Fujimori. The former president is also in jail over human rights abuses.

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The sentencing Tuesday came after a trial in which prosecutors proved a college professor and two students were victims of "forced disappearance," and were killed and burned in an oven in the basement of the Intelligence Service of the Army in 1993. Former Army Chief of Staff Nicolas Hernandez Rios was also found guilty of the same crime; he received a 15-year sentence. The immediate arrest of former Army Intelligence Directorate chief Jorge Nadal Paiva was ordered after the sentencing.

The three victims were among thousands who disappeared between 1980 and 2000 during Peru's internal conflict. During testimony the court heard that students Kenneth Anzualdo and Martin Roca Casas, and professor Justiniano Najarro Rua were tortured, interrogated and then executed in the intelligence service basement.

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Montesinos' trial confirmed the existence of the oven in the Lima intelligence service building, and Prosecutor Carlos Rivera commented the number of people whose bodies were burned was likely higher than three.

"These crimes, which occurred in the basement of the army intelligence service, can't but prove the existence of a systematic policy of violating people's human rights. There was an oven there, to burn bodies, it's horrible, [but] nobody builds an oven to burn just three bodies," he said.

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