Peru – Peruvian peasant patrols free seven women kidnapped in early July accused of sorcery


Police
Police officers in Peru – CARLOS GARCIA GRANTHON / ZUMA PRESS /CONTACTOPHOTO

The peasant patrols of the district of Chillia, in the department of La Libertad, in northwestern Peru, have released on Tuesday seven women kidnapped and tortured in early July and accused of allegedly committing acts of sorcery.

According to the Ombudsman’s Office, the peasant patrols held a meeting, which lasted until the early hours of the morning (local time), and in which they agreed to release the women after their relatives filed complaints.

In fact, the president of the Chillia peasant patrols, Manuel Quijano, already said on Monday that the organization could release the women as long as they left the locality and their families withdrew the aforementioned complaints.

However, Quijano remained firm in his theory that all the imprisoned women were «fully identified» as responsible for «sorcery work», according to Peruvian radio station RPP.

While initially six women were reported, the Ombudsman’s Office later raised the figure to seven and one man, all between the ages of 40 and 79.

According to the document, those released «are apparently in good health» and have been handed over to their families after having signed their «deeds of commitment» following a meeting with the peasant patrols.

For his part, the head of the Ombudsman’s Office, José Luis Agüero, had previously insisted that the women had not been punished with social work, as the peasant patrols claim, but that they had been tortured, walked naked through the area, had had nettles rubbed over their bodies and had even been whipped.

Agüero reported that with the images and videos presented by the relatives, there is enough evidence to prove that there has been «degrading and humiliating mistreatment», and that there have even been episodes of «torture» by the peasant patrols.

Eight women were arrested at the beginning of July by the Chillia peasant patrol base for allegedly having practiced witchcraft, according to the president of the Central Única Nacional de Rondas Campesinas de La Libertad, Pablo Haro, who said that two of them had already been released.

This episode takes place in a context marked by the recent kidnapping of two journalists by the peasant patrols in Chadín when they were taking statements about Yenifer Paredes, sister-in-law of President Castillo, who is linked to an alleged crime of influence peddling in the region.

This incident has caused controversy in Peru, even more so when the Prime Minister, Anibal Torres, came out to defend the security work carried out by the peasant patrols, criticizing the Armed Forces. Later this weekend, Torres has rectified his words.


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