Peru ex-President included in Italian arrest warrant

An Italian judge has issued an arrest warrant for Peru’s former president, General Francisco Morales-Bermúdez, for the disappearance of 25 Italian citizens in the 1970s. The warrant was issued by Judge Luisianna Figliolia on Monday. Peru’s ex-Prime Minister Pedro Richter Prada is also included.

According to Radio Programas radio, the arrest warrant includes 140 people who allegedly participated in Operation Condor, a campaign of political repression aimed at eliminating left-wing influence in South America’s Southern Cone during the 1970s and 1980s.

Following news of the warrant, Morales-Bermúdez told Radio Programas radio “Peru was never part of Operation Condor, neither as a country nor as a government.”

Morales-Bermúdez seized power in 1975 after a military coup deposed General Juan Velasco and is widely recognized for returning the country to democratic control. He held power until 1980 when Peru held national elections after twelve years of military rule.

“Considering that our country was in a process of transition to democracy we had to defend it,” Morales-Bermúdez added. “When there was intelligence that there existed some elements that were not positive for national life, information was collected for the security and tranquility we needed. But here, there were no executions and less so of Italian citizens.”

The arrest warrant includes former dictators, ministers, heads of intelligence agencies and the police officers from Argentina, Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru, Chile, Brazil and Paraguay. Included are ex-Argentine dictator Jorge Rafael Videla and ex-Uruguayan dictators Juan María Bordaberry and Gregorio Álvarez.

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