Lima Supreme Court Judge dismisses charges against Ollanta Humala for alleged participation in 2005 assault on Andean police station

A Supreme Court Judge has dismissed all charges against Ollanta Humala, the leader of the left-leaning nationalist opposition party, ruling there is a lack of evidence to support his alleged participation in the deadly 2005 assault on a police station in Peru’s southern Andes.

“The charges lack the minimal evidence requirements to connect (the Andahuaylas incident) to the defendant,” the court said in a statement Tuesday that was reported in daily La Republica.

Ollanta’s lawyer, Omar Chehade, said that the decision was based on the fact that the state prosector’s charges were weak and unfounded.

“No probing element or reasonable indication that could prove Ollanta Humala’s participation as an instigator or an accomplice has ever existed,” said Chehade in comments to state news agency Andina, “so the judge’s decision to dismiss the charges brings us satisfaction.”

On Jan. 1, 2005 Antauro Humala, Ollanta’s brother, led a group of ultra-nationalist “Etnocaceristas” in a New Year’s Day siege of a police station in Andahuaylas, a remote town in the Apurímac region in southern Peru. The group took hostages, demanding that then-President Alejandro Toledo resign for selling out Peru to foreign corporate interests – Chilean investors in particular.

The group killed four policemen in a roadside ambush during the ensuing three-day standoff. Police snipers killed two of Humala’s men the following day.

Ollanta, who was Peru’s military attaché in South Korea at the time, has denied any direct involvement even though Antauro loudly proclaimed throughout the siege that he was acting at the behest of his brother, with whom he allegedly maintained cell phone contact.

During the takeover, Ollanta called Radio Programas radio from Seoul and issued a “command” to Peru’s army reserved to rise up against former President Alejandro Toledo. He quickly backed down from that position and called for an end to the siege after learning about the bloodshed. He later distanced himself from Antauro and the radical movement he led in Ollanta’s name. He has steadfastly denied any direct involvement ever since.

But, according to state prosecutor Pedro de las Casas, who appealed Tuesday’s ruling, Judge Wilder Cacique’s decision “makes no sense” and must be revised by a higher court.

Humala instigated the rebellion, argued de las Casas, and “because of these grave accusations, his responsibility should be determined via a judicial investigation.”

“There are fundamental elements and evidence (that justify) the investigation of this crime,” he added, in reference to a Caretas magazine report in which a policeman who was hiding in the police station stated that the Humala brothers were in contact throughout the siege.

There is “the audio in which (Ollanta) expresses his support of the Andahuaylas rebellion,” de las Casas told Andina, “and declarations made by his brother Antauro, who said that Ollanta Humala brought about this incident.”

Antauro and more than 170 of his ultra-nationalist followers are presently on trial for the January 2005 assault.

State prosecutors have requested a 35-year sentence and expulsion from the country following completion of their sentence for all of the defendants. The charges include rebellion, first degree murder, and illegal possession of arms. The trial is being held at a courtroom in the San Pedro prison, also known as the Lurigancho prison.

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