Humala: Prison and exile request politically motivated

Former presidential candidate and opposition leader, Ollanta Humala, says charges that he helped mastermind the 2005 armed assault on a remote police station in the southern town of Andahuaylas, in Apurímac Department, are politically motivated.

The comments follow a request by State Prosecutor Gladys Fernández that Humala serve a 15-year prison sentence and pay a fine of 50,000 soles, or about $17,000, in civil reparation for his involvement in the assault. Fernández also requested that Humala be exiled after completing the prison sentence.

“This isn’t my first trial, there have been seven investigations, all of them since I entered politics,” Radio Programas radio quoted Humala saying “the government wants to imprison me.”

Humala adds that behind the exile request there is “clearly political pressure on the prosecutor. To request the exile of a citizen in the 21st century is unconstitutional, every citizen has the right to live in their country.”

On Jan. 1, 2005 Antauro Humala, Ollanta’s brother, stormed the police station with 160 ultra-nationalist followers, demanding the resignation of former President Alejandro Toledo, who they accused of corruption and selling out Peru to Chilean business interests. Six people died in the attack, including four police officers.

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 on his brothers orders. 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.

Ollanta later ran for president in Peru’s 2006 national elections after founding the Peruvian Nationalist Party. He won the first round of the elections, however failed to receive more than 50 percent of the valid votes, resulting in a second round runoff. He was defeated in the runoff by Peru’s current president, Alan García.

Following the election his political support rapidly declined and the congressional coalition that backed him quickly fell apart. However, recent opinion polls have showed Ollanta and his Nationalist Party recovering public support, reaching a 58 percent approval rating according to Radio Programas.

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