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Peru: Update – Acquittal of human rights defender Mr Jhon Kennedy Vega Carrascal
On 18 September 2012, human rights defender Mr Jhon Kennedy Vega Carrascal was acquitted of charges of aggravated violence against a public authority.
Although one of the presiding magistrates voted to sentence the human rights defender to a 10-year prison term, he was overruled by the other two presiding magistrates who found Jhon Kennedy Vega Carrascal not guilty.
During the trial, the bench referred to the amicus brief submitted by the Coordinadora Nacional de Derechos Humanos – CNDDHH (National Coordinating Committee of Human Rights), as well as letters transmitted by Front Line Defenders and Amnesty International, and reportedly gave the arguments contained therein due consideration.
The public prosecutors responsible for the case of the prosecution have stated that they intend to lodge an appeal to the Supreme Court. Should the appeal go ahead, it would not be possible for the Supreme Court to change the verdict, but it could annul the judgement and order a re-trial.
Whilst welcoming the court decision of 18 September, Front Line Defenders calls on the authorities responsible for investigating the incidents of January 2009 to take full account of the evidence proving that Jhon Kennedy Vega Carrascal was not involved in the instigation or carrying out of any acts of violence, and on that basis, to refrain from taking any further legal action against him.
For further information, please see the Front Line Defenders urgent appeal, dated 14 September 2012.