Revolutionary Worker #1097, April 8, 2001, posted at http://rwor.org
As we go to press, the 7th delegation of the International Emergency Committee to Defend the Life of Dr. Abimael Guzmán (IEC) is in Lima, Peru. The delegates arrived in Lima on Sunday, March 25. The next day, they were at the Ministry of Justice, demanding that the Peruvian government allow them to visit Chairman Gonzalo (Abimael Guzmán) of the Communist Party of Peru (PCP).
For more than eight years, the Peruvian government has held Chairman Gonzalo in isolation at a specially built prison at El Callao naval base. He has been denied access to his lawyers, doctors, family, and the media--while the government of Peru has claimed to speak for him.
In a March 27 press release, the London office of the IEC said: "The declared mission of the 7th IEC delegation is to end the politically motivated, inhuman and illegal eight year isolation of Dr. Guzmán and to force the government of Peru to allow Dr. Guzmán to speak for himself on a live TV broadcast.... From 1992 when Dr. Guzmán was captured through 1995 the IEC sent six international delegations to Peru to prevent the Peruvian authorities from killing him, and then to end the illegal and inhumane isolation. Those delegations were made possible by the support of people all over the world. With the collapse of the U.S.-backed Fujimori-Montesinos regime, support has come for this, the 7th delegation."
The IEC delegation's trip to Peru comes just a few days before the April 8 elections for a new president to replace the Fujimori regime (there probably will be a second round in May between the two top candidates). The March 27 press release points out: "The IEC does not believe there will be any fundamental change in the U.S.-controlled Peruvian regime no matter who is elected. But the political and economic turmoil in Peru does open up possibilities for the work of the 7th IEC delegation."
In addition to demanding an end to the isolation of Chairman Gonzalo, the 7th IEC delegation is also demanding that the Peruvian government end the isolation of Comrade Feliciano (Oscar Ramirez Duran), who led the PCP after Chairman Gonzalo's capture until his own arrest in 1999, and stop the persecution of the 4,000 other political prisoners and prisoners of war.
The 7th IEC delegation is made up of people from several countries: Jaime Bonilla (Colombia)--university professor and human rights activist; Peter Erlinder (U.S.)--law professor, former president of the National Laywers Guild; Haluk Gerger (Turkey)--founding member of the Turkish Human Rights Association; José Enrique González Ruiz (Mexico)--professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, member of National Front of Democratic Lawyers and American Association of Jurists; Juan José Landinez (Colombia)--defense lawyer in cases concerning human rights; Heriberto Ocasio (U.S.)--activist in the IEC in the U.S.; Padma Ratna Tuladhar (Nepal)--former minister of health and labor in Nepal, member of the Nepalese Parliament, chairman of the Forum for Protection of Human Rights, founder of the "Save Democracy Movement."
On March 29, the 7th IEC delegation held a press conference. According to the London office of the IEC, nine TV crews (including three from major international outlets) and numerous print journalists attended. Later, the delegates saw coverage of their press conference on the evening TV news.
At the press conference, the delegates read a "Message to the Peruvian People." The message said in part:
"This seventh delegation of the IEC, like the previous ones, takes up a mission of the very highest importance: To put an end to the serious situation of isolation imposed upon Dr. Abimael Guzmán Reinoso and other political prisoners in the prison of El Callao. We are also deeply concerned about the treatment of all political prisoners in the prisons of Peru. A lot of people in all parts of the world have their eyes on what this delegation is doing; they care deeply about the fate of Dr. Guzmán and the other 4,000 political prisoners."
The delegates reported that they have gone to civilian and military authorities demanding to meet with Abimael Guzmán in order to verify his state of health and well being. They ended their statement by saying:
"The concerns about Dr. Guzmán's state of health, which come from all corners of the world, are even more important because the Fujimori-Montesinos dictatorship used his isolation to claim to speak in his name. It is unacceptable to attribute declarations to Dr. Guzmán as long as he does not make them in a direct form before the mass media and without any kind of pressure. No government has the authority to speak on behalf of its political prisoners. And of course, the only way to verify the government's claims of changes regarding his treatment is for Dr. Guzmán to be able to express himself in person."
Information about the 7th IEC delegation is available online at: www.csrp.org/iec
For more information about the work of the IEC, contact: IEC, 27 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3XX, UK; Tel/Fax: 44 20 7482 0853; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the U.S., contact: Committee to Support the Revolution in Peru (CSRP), PO Box 1246, Berkeley, CA 94701; Phone: 415-252-5786; Fax: 415-252-7414
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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