Alberto Pizango and other defendants, Bagua trial, May 14, 2014
On May 14, 2014, the first mass trial resulting from events that took place five years ago in Bagua began. The court agreed with most of the defendants’ arguments, and in a turn-about, is calling on the high-ranking police officers who commanded the operations to testify. The trial was suspended and will be reconvened on May 26 in order to ensure that translators for the Awajún, Wampis and Shawi defendants can be there.
AIDESEP’s attorney and leaders saw hope in yesterday’s hearing. The court agreed with several of their requests, including for adequate interpretation; lessening restrictions on 2 of the defendants until now in prison or under house arrest; and calling the officers who oversaw the crackdown in Bagua as witnesses. In the words of Apu Alberto Pizango, “Today, on May 14, oral arguments began. The tribunal has given us hope that the defendants will be absolved, and this is, and will be, important for our country and for peoples whose rights have been violated”.
Until yesterday, the people responsible for ordering the operations in Bagua had not been called, and accusations against them have been very slow to move. While it agreed to call on the high-ranking police officers, the court decided against calling the Minister of the Interior at the time to the stand, stating she was not in Bagua during the events – interesting, given that Alberto Pizango, who was also not in Bagua at the time, is being tried for instigation. In a statement, families of the police victims state: “We trust that the trial beginning on May 14 in Bagua will finally begin to reveal many things that the responsible authorities for years have wanted to cover and hide. It is unacceptable, meanwhile, that the trial of the police generals and other government officials who ordered the operation in the Curva del Diablo has not yet started”.
Please stay tuned for further updates as the Bagua trial resumes on May 26.