EXTERNAL (for general distribution) AI Index: AMR 46/23/91
UA 176/91 Fear of Torture/Fear of "Disappearance" 21 May 1991
PERU: Marcela VALDEZ DE LA CRUZ, 35-year-old teacher (f)
Amnesty International is seriously concerned for the physical safety of a
teacher and mother of two children, Marcela Valdez de la Cruz, who is a member
of the Sindicato Unico de Trabajadores en la Educación (SUTEP), the Educational
Workers Trade Union.
She was reportedly detained on 17 May 1991 by members of the Policía
Técnica, the investigative police, on leaving her home in the La Magdalena
area of the city of Ayacucho, Ayacucho department.
According to reports, the detention of Marcela Valdez was acknowledged
by the police until 20 May, when relatives were informed that she had been
transferred to the "Los Cabitos" military barracks.
For the last eight years Amnesty International has received numerous reports
of incommunicado and unacknowledged detentions from Peru, some of which have
led to "disappearances". Most of them have occurred in rural areas and have
been carried out by uniformed members of the security forces, who often refuse
to acknowledge the detentions. Many of those detained by the armed forces
"disappear" indefinitely; others are released after days or weeks in secret
custody, during which time they may be subjected to torture. Sometimes their
detention is acknowledged, after prolonged secret detention and interrogation.
In these cases, detentions are only acknowledged to have occurred as of the
date the detainees are transferred from military to police custody, when public
prosecutors are informed of the detention. The armed forces as a rule never
acknowledge having held prisoners prior to their transfer to the police. This
is a major contributing factor to the continuing practice of torture and
Human rights violations take place in a context of increasingly violent
activities by armed opposition groups, especially "Sendero Luminoso", which
has claimed responsibility for hundreds of execution-style killings of
government officials, leaders of left-wing political parties and members of
peasant communities believed to have cooperated with the armed forces.
RECOMMENDED ACTION: Telegrams/telexes/faxes and airmail letters:
- expressing concern for the physical safety of Marcela Valdez de la Cruz and
asking that, while held in detention, she be given access to relatives, a doctor
and a lawyer;
- requesting that she be brought before a competent judicial authority within
the term provided for by law.