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Peru's Premier Reportedly Quits Over Rights Case

February 17, 1994| From Reuters

LIMA, Peru — Peruvian Prime Minister Alfonso Bustamante has resigned over a human rights controversy, government sources said Wednesday.

Bustamante quit over enactment of a law last week that sent a sensitive human rights case to the military court, the sources said.

The case involved 11 army officers accused of killing nine students and a professor from La Cantuta University.

The officers allegedly abducted the 10 people from the army-occupied teachers college campus on July 17, 1992, and executed them hours later at a police firing range east of Lima. The bodies were buried there and at a dump site.

Officials said Wednesday that a military prosecutor has sought prison terms of four to 20 years for nine of the 11 defendants.

A spokesman for the Supreme Council of Military Justice said that Col. Raul Talledo requested the sentences Tuesday.

The officers initially were charged in a civilian court. But last week, Peru's Congress and President Alberto Fujimori changed the law on jurisdictional disputes to allow the Supreme Court to send the case to a closed military tribunal.

Sources close to Bustamante said Wednesday that he resigned after disagreeing with that law, widely criticized as interference in the autonomy of the civilian judiciary.

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