Prosecutor in Fujimori trial getting threatening phone calls

Dr. Avelino Guillén, one of the prosecutors in jailed former President Alberto Fujimori’s trial for human rights violations, has once again been receiving strange and menacing phone calls, just months away from the judge handing over his sentence.

On Dec. 9, Guillén received a phone call on his personal cell phone. A non-identified male repeated three times: “there’s no one in your home.” Alarmed, Guillén immediately called his family members who, indeed, were not home.

“It’s the government’s responsibility to protect (Guillén), to investigate and to sanction those responsible for this type of behavior, which is intended to pressure and incline the balance in favor of impunity and the covering-up of crimes against humanity,” reads a press statement released Tuesday by Aprodeh, one of Peru’s most respectable human rights organizations.

“The determined and incisive work of Prosecutor Guillén in Fujimori’s trial is well known and these actions are intended to intimidate him so that the prosecution will reduce its request for a 30-year prison term for Fujimori for ordering the crimes of Barrios Altos and La Cantuta, as well as the kidnappings in the SIE’s (military intelligence service) basement.”

Fujimori has been on trial for more than a year for allegedly sanctioning the Grupo Colina death squad, believed to be responsible for atrocities committed during his 1990-2000 rule. If convicted, he could face 30 years in prison and a fine of $3 million.

The Colina group machine-gunned 15 people, including a child, in a tenement building in Lima’s Barrios Altos district in 1991, and kidnapped and murdered nine students and one professor at La Cantuta University in 1992. The victims were targeted by the Colina group for suspected collaboration with the Shining Path guerrilla movement.

Over the past months, Guillén has repeatedly stated that Fujimori knew about and sanctioned the Colina group operations, and even targeted Peru President Alan García’s new cabinet chief, Yehude Simon, for assassination in the early 1990s.

Since the trial began, 28 incidents – including threatening calls to Guillén’s home phone, cell phone and numerous visits by suspicious individuals to his home – have been registered by police.

On Dec. 16, 2007 Guillén received death threats from a home phone traced back by police to a home in Lima’ San Juan de Lurigancho district.

At the time, daily La Republica reported that a yahoo group called “fujifriends_peru” had been coordinating some of the calls and visits to Guillén’s home via email messenging.

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