EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 46/25/93
UA 230/93 Fear for Safety 15 July 1993
PERU: Heriberto BENITEZ RIVAS, lawyer
Amnesty International is deeply concerned about the safety of Heriberto Benítez
Rivas, a lawyer presently representing the relatives of nine students and one
lecturer who "disappeared" on 18 July 1992. According to a testimony given
to an Amnesty International delegation in Peru on 14 July 1993, Heriberto Benítez
said that he has been receiving anonymous death threats on the phone during
the past few days for his involvement in this case.
The students and lecturer were abducted on the campus of the Enrique Guzmán
y Valle University of Education, also known as La Cantuta, allegedly by members
of the armed forces. Heriberto Benítez and the relatives of the "disappeared"
have been asking the authorities to carry out an investigation into the case.
(For further information see Amnesty International's reports: Peru:
"Disappearance" of a Lecturer and nine Students, AI Index AMR 46/45/92, Peru:
"Disappeared" Lecturer and Nine Students Killed by the Army, AI Index: AMR
46/09/93 and Peru: Army Seeks a Cover-up of Summary Killings, AI Index: AMR
Heriberto Benítez and his family have been threatened with death in the past
for his participation in the legal defence of members of the army who in November
1992 were accused of having participated in an attempt to overthrow President
Alberto Fujimori's Government.
Heriberto Benítez has denounced these latest threats before the dean of the
Colegio de Abogados (Bar Association) and to the President of the Congress'
Human Rights Commission.
President Alberto Fujimori and his government assumed power on 28 July 1990.
The government inherited a legacy of gross human rights violations dating
back to January 1988, including thousands of cases of "disappearance" and
The President has repeatedly stated that his government is pursuing a policy
of respect for human rights. However, since President Fujimori assumed power,
Amnesty International has documented the cases of 607 persons who were
"disappeared". The organization has also documented 228 cases of extrajudicial
execution during the same period.