BRAZIL - For the live and health of Abimael Guzmán

June 11, 2020

Following we want to document a petition in favor of the live and health of Abimael Guzmán, which is supported by the Brazilian Center for Solidarity of Peoples - CEBRASPO and the Brazilian Association of People's Lawyers:

 

The Brazilian Center for Solidarity of Peoples - CEBRASPO and the Brazilian Association of People's Lawyers - ABRAPO express our support for the request for a precautionary measure filed in early April 2020 in favor of Abimael Guzmán, prisoner of war and peruvian political prisoner, so that his right to health and life be guaranteed, in accordance with the petition forwarded to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) - PRECAUTIONARY MEASURE - IACHR - Number: MC-535-20.

Professor Abimael Guzmán Reynoso has been imprisoned for 27 years in an underground cell at the Callao naval base and in a situation of complete isolation. He is an elderly person with 85 years of age and has a series of chronic diseases, which includes him among the groups at risk for the current epidemic of COVID-19. His lawyer asked the Peruvian court to place him under house arrest where he could have guaranteed both social isolation and the necessary medical assistance. This was denied with the claim that he is isolated and, if he fell ill, he would have guaranteed medical assistance. How can this claim by the Peruvian government be believed if no preventive
and protective measures were taken when requested by his wife and the International Committee of the International Red Cross? Similar to what happens in Brazil, the health situation in Peruvian prisons is dramatic, not only due to the excess of people confined in restricted spaces, but also due to the lack of adequate medical and nursing assistance and the absence of environments with minimal conditions of health care for the infected, which leads to a higher risk of contagion and death due to lack of assistance. There were, on April 13th, according to a complaint by female political prisoners in Chorrilos, 16 prison guards infected with COVID-19, who had already infected the incarcerated population, and one dead already accounted for. Peru, like other countries, decreed a national health emergency due to this pandemic. As of April 21st, there were already at least seven dead prisoners, more than 40 prisoners and 26 infected prison guards.

The Peruvian court has already sent prisoners for non-political crimes due to the epidemic to house arrest, following a line also implemented in other countries, including Brazil. There is a clear intention that Dr. Guzmán will be infected and die in order to try to free the Peruvian government from clear discrimination against political prisoners in Peru. For even the genocidal Fujimori who was in prison for life, handed over by the Chilean government to Peru, obtained a pardon for humanitarian reasons. We ask that the Commission pay special attention to the case. It is very clear how the Justice and the Peruvian Government treat the issue of the rights to life and health with two weights and two measures. Would Peruvian institutions be so fragile that they would not be able to endure political prisoners living under house arrest? Such discrimination hurt the democratic conscience of the peoples. The notorious precariousness of the conditions of the prison system, with environments with a high degree of unhealthy conditions, proliferation of diseases, overcrowding and insufficient provision of health care, is more serious in view of the situation generated by the pandemic of COVID-19, which has a high degree of contageon. In a specific document related to prisons, called “Preparedness, Prevention and Control of COVID-19 in Prisons and Other Places of Detention”1, the World Health Organization (WHO) explains that the conditions of confinement in the prison system increase the chances of transmission disease, while also decreasing access to available resources to prevent and carry out treatment in case of infection. In the same vein, the UN Subcommittee on the Prevention of Torture (SPT) manifested itself, pointing out the particular vulnerability of people deprived of their liberty to the new coronavirus. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) recently issued a communiqué (Communiqué 066 of March 31, 2020) highlighting the initiative of the National Council of Justice (CNJ) on Recommendation 62/20, which deals with preventive measures to COVID-19 in prison and socio-educational system in Brazil. Likewise, the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) also recognized the CNJ initiative as good practice to be adopted in other countries. Seeking to standardize preventive measures with the objective of combating the spread of COVID-19 in the context of the establishments of the prisonal and socio-educational system, one of the main international measures accepted by CNJ Recommendation 62 is the reduction of overcrowding, in particular with the reduction of entry into the system and the release of prisoners who are convicted of crimes of low offensive potential or committed without violence. The adoption of alternative measures, progression of punishment, substitution of pre-trial detention and, mainly, the release and home regime for those who are at risk, such as the elderly, pregnant women and people with chronic, immunosuppressive, respiratory and other pre-existing comorbidities that may lead to to a worsening of the general health status from contagion, with special attention to diabetes, tuberculosis, kidney diseases, HIV and co-infections. This Committee, repeatedly and in accordance with the provisions of its Principles and Best Practices for the Protection of Persons Deprived of Liberty in the Americas [2], has expressed itself in the sense that States are obliged to guarantee the rights of persons deprived of their liberty. In this sense, respect and guarantee for life, health, integrity, fundamental rights and minimum conditions compatible with the dignity of persons
deprived of their liberty. In the context of the vulnerability of the prison population and the profound precariousness of their health and hygiene conditions in the context of the pandemic, it is up to the States to implement actions with attention to prevention and information, as well as to apply measures to restrict prisons and release prisoners for house arrest. This is the understanding of WHO, the United Nations (UN), the IACHR and the CNJ, highlighting the importance of reducing the prison population in conjunction with the prevention and maintenance of physical and mental health care for people deprived of their liberty. The notorious unhealthy condition of prisons in Peru recently resulted in rebellion, due to the lack of food and the deepening of the precariousness for people deprived of their liberty in the context of COVID-19 - the rebellion in the prison of El Milagro, in Trujilo was also reported in communiqué 066 of the IACHR. Just to exercise reasoning, let's imagine that Abimael got sick, with a suspicion of Covid-19? Obviously, it could not be treated in the facilities of health units with the support of equipment, supplies and specific multidisciplinary health professionals for the treatment of those infected with this virus. Would this really be done, with the guarantees of a universal right of the human person, in time and hour? There is no reason whatsoever to believe in prompt and correct assistance from the State that keeps it in current conditions.

In Brazil, for example, no one can be imprisoned for more than 30 years, no matter how much their sentence is. For Abimael , there would be only 1 year to complete these 30 years. Even in cases such as Abimael, judicial measures must always be guided by respect for the general regulations that govern the Fundamental Rights of the Human Person; the right of prisoners; and, in particular, of political prisoners, as in the specific case; as well as on the principles of reasonableness and proportionality. And, in the present case, for all the reasons set out in the judicial request itself, denied by the Peruvian authorities, as in that document, and in light of the specific regulations and principles mentioned above, the measure required to grant house arrest is fully justified.

for Abimael Guzmán.

1http://www.euro.who.int/__data/assets/pdf_file/0019/434026/Preparedness-prevention-and-control-of-COVID-19-in-prisons.pdf
2: http://www.oas.org/es/cidh/mandato/Basicos/PrincipiosPPL.asp
 

 

 

 

 

 

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