Judge Orders General’s Arrest in Prison Slayings
LIMA, Peru (AP) _ A civilian judge has ordered the arrest and trial for murder of an army general accused of responsibility for the summary execution of 124 inmates who surrendered after a prison riot.
Lower court Judge Hernan Saturno issued a warrant Wednesday for the arrest of Gen. Jorge Rabanal, who directed the suppression of an uprising at Lima’s Lurigancho Prison on June 18 and 19.
As of today, there was no confirmation that the judge’s order had been carried out. Rabanal, commander of the army’s armored division, was last reported at ″Fort Riimac,″ the headquarters of a tank unit outside the capital.
As a military officer, Rabanal has the right under Peruvian law to request a trial in military court by his peers. Because those who died in the aftermath of the prison rebellion were civilians, the issue of jurisdiction in the case may eventually be decided by the Supreme Court.
The judge said any other members of the paramilitary Republican Guard or army implicated in the killings will also be charged.
The Republican Guard, under the supervision of army officers, put down the nearly-simultaneous rebellions at Lurigancho and two other Lima-area prisons. The government says as many as 250 inmates were killed in the three clashes and their aftermath.
Prison employees who witnessed the suppression of the Lurigancho riot were quoted by the district attorney as saying inmates were executed one by one with a gunshot to the head after surrendering.
Most of the victims were members of the Maoist Shining Path guerrilla movement, which has been fighting Peruvian governments since 1980.
The prisoners rioted to demand that their trials be speeded-up and that conditions at the prisons be improved. The Lurigancho inmates also were protesting their proposed transfer to another jail.