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Witness says army paid him for silence after Cantuta murder

February 26th, 2008 · No Comments

 Alberto Fujimori. Carlos Pichilingüe and lawyer (Pichilingüe y abogado).

February 25, 2008

Twenty-eighth session. Carlos Pichilingüe Guevara and Carlos Aquilino Portella Nuñez testified. Journalist Umberto Jara said that for work reasons he will be outside of Lima until March 10, thus he will be unable to testify until then.

Carlos Pichilingüe Guevara. His lawyer, José Alberto Montoya Pizarro, also represents former Colina agent Ángel Pino Díaz. Pino was the first ex-agent to deny his participation in Colina while Pichilingüe is the first to deny the existence of the Colina group altogether.

Pichilingüe, suspected of being the administrative head of the military group, denied both the existence of Colina and the crimes the group committed, despite the fact that 15 Colina members have now testified, confirming Colina’s existence as a military detachment.

Pichilingüe also mentioned the following:

  1. COMPRANSA. Company mentioned in the hearing that is considered to be the Colina group’s façade and whose partners are the supposed leaders of Colina. Pichilingüe said that this was his company and since he had no money to start it, he asked for a loan from Gen. Rivero Lazo, Rodríguez Zalbabeascoa and Santiago Martin Rivas, which is why they appear as partners. It is important to note that the secretary of this company, Liliana Mazuelos Echevarría, testified before another court that the following people regularly visited the company: Jesús Antonio Sosa Saavedra, Guillermo Pedro Supo Sánchez, Vera Navarrete, Jorge Enrique Ortiz Mantas, Ángel Felipe Sauñi Pomaya, Marco Flores Albán and Santiago Martin Rivas. All have been indicated as Colina members.
  2. To eliminate is to displace. When the witness was asked about the term “eliminate,” used in a military manual in reference to members and leaders of subversive organizations, Pichilingüe responded that according to the Royal Spanish Academy of the Spanish language (Real Academia Española), “to eliminate” means “to remove” or “to displace.”
  3. Analysis Group. The witness said that he belonged to the analysis group in the National Intelligence Service (SIN), which created a manual in 1991 using documentation obtained from the national police. The manual is said to have been used in the fight against Shining Path; however, Pichilingüe was unable to explain how or where it was used after it was made.
  4. “Politically Correct” Sentence in Military Court. The witness confirmed that the military court gave him a “politically correct” sentence for the crimes accredited to the Colina group, since at that time his reputation was ruined by the media.
  5. Evidence demonstrating that he was offered US$250,000 to speak. Regarding the claim he made in court on Feb. 22 that Umberto Jara paid him US$250,000 to incriminate Fujimori — a claim already made in 2003 and rejected by Congress — Pichilingüe said nothing and did not hand in any of the evidence backing his claim that he promised to present to the court.
  6. Information given to Jara was intentionally distorted. Concerning his participation in Colina and the implication of Fujimori, Pichilingüe said that the videos in Jara’s possession are supposed rehearsals by Pichilingüe and Martin Rivas when they were preparing to testify before the judiciary for the crimes they had been accused of. Furthermore, the book written by Jara is based on information that Pichilingüe claims he purposely manipulated so that it would appear that the Peruvian army employed a “low-intensity war.” Pichilingüe said he did this in order to throw the journalist off the track.

Aquilino Portella Nuñez. Confessed his participation in the La Cantuta crime, saying that he received the orders from his superiors and assumed that the assignment was legal. However, he claimed that when he realized the illegality of the operation, he tried to report it to his superiors:

  1. Portella testified that after the crime, he talked to Gen. Luis Pérez Documet, who told him “nobody is to know that you left your duty, this is the responsibility of the DINTE [Army Intelligence Directorate].” Then, without any official document, he was transferred to the DINTE and was assigned an area to live inside the Army Intelligence Service (SIE).
  2. In the DINTE, Portella looked for the head, Gen. Willy Chirinos Chirinos, and told him what happened, requesting a meeting with Commander General Nicolás de Bari Hermoza Rios. Chirinos only answered that Hermoza would not see him.
  3. Later in 1995, Portella said the same thing to the new head of the DINTE, Gen. Jorge Nadal Paiva. In response, Paiva, along with Rivero Lazo — head of the DINTE in 1992 — gave Portella a passport with a false name and US$20,000 so that he would leave the country.
  4. On returning to Peru in 1997, Portella was given $30,000 by Col. Alejandro Álvarez Pedroza, at that time legal counselor to Hermoza Rios, to stay in Lima.

With respect to Fujimori supporters’ complaints about the former president’s prison conditions, the Justice Ministry told press on Feb. 24 that Fujimori is classified as an inmate who is to be subject to a special, closed regime and that he is staying in a 18 square meter cell with a private bath.

For Wednesday, Feb. 27, the following military officials have been summoned to testify: Santiago Martin Rivas, Fernando Rodríguez Zabalbeascoa and Federico Navarro Pérez. All three were suspected leaders of the Colina group.

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