Target: Attorney General of Paraguay Dr. Javier Diaz Veron
Goal: Demand an unbiased investigation and a fair trial in the Paraguayan forced eviction killings case
Investigations into the deaths of 17 people killed during a forced eviction in Paraguay have been skewed in favor of the police, according to a report from Amnesty International. If no further action is taken to bring justice to this case the 12 individuals now charged with the killings cannot expect or receive a fair trial.
In June, 2012 a group of 300 police officers advanced on land occupied by 90 peasants in the Curuguaty district of Paraguay. Many of the officers were armed when they conducted the eviction. In the process 11 peasants and six officers were killed. A group of 12 peasants involved in the evacuation have been charged with the deaths, whereas none of the officers involved was ever charged.
Clearly the investigations were conducted only partially and skewed in favor of the police since most of the evidence collected for this case came from the officers themselves, with very little weight given to peasants’ testimonies. Investigations conducted by Amnesty International in the months after the incident indicate that some of the peasants killed were shot under mysterious circumstances after the eviction violence had subsided. Several civilian witnesses have raised concern about the disproportionate violence used by the police officers, which may involved torture and arbitrary detentions.
This is not the first time that the justice system has taken advantage of the status of police officers to offset consequences faced by government officials. Such bias against civilians makes a fair trial nearly impossible. Demand that the General Prosecutor conduct a just trial by investigating both sides of the violent incident equally, without bias.
Dear Dr. Veron,
It was shocking to read that an investigation into the deaths that occurred during a forced eviction in the Curuguaty district has been heavily skewed in favor of the police. Most of the evidence in the trial has been based on officers’ testimonies while very few peasants’ testimonies have been taken into account. The eviction incident ended in 17 deaths, with victims on both sides, and many of the officers involved in the evictions were armed. Clearly it is not possible to determine what really happened that day by listening to just one side of the story.
Skewing the evidence in favor of government police forces is immoral and essentially supports the use of violence against civilians in future forced evictions. I urge you to investigate both sides of the violence that had occurred in order to ensure a fair trial for the 12 peasants currently charged in the killings. Please address the rampant corruption that has so far tainted this investigation.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: FrankOWeaver via Wikipedia