Report about the situation of the political prisoners from the Revolutionary Movement Tupac Amaru(MRTA)
To the organisations present at the Berlin conference for humanity and against neo-liberalism.
The maximum security prison in the naval base of Callao.
Among those imprisoned in this maximum security prison are :Victor Polay Campos member of the national directorate of the MRTA and general commander of the People’s Army Tupac Amaru(EPT) ;Maria Lucero Cumpa Miranda, member of the national directorate of the MRTA and commander in the guerrilla ; and Peter Cardenas Schulte,member of the national directorate.
All of the above have been condemned to life imprisonment after brief trials in front of a faceless military tribunal (the judges are masked).The charges they faced were ,terrorism and betrayal of the fatherland"-an invention of the dictatorship,designed to ,legalize" its continual violations of international treaties and agreements,which have been signed by Peru and supported by the congress of the Republic.These include :the International Declaration Of Human Rights, the American Declaration of the Rights and Responsibilities of Man,the American Convention of Human Rights,the International Pact of Political and Civil Rights,and the Convention against Torture and others,not to mention the Peruvian Constitution itself.
Conditions in the prison at the naval base of Callao.
Construction was finished by the Fujimori dictatorship in March of 1993 and it is one of the greatest demonstrations of its irracionality and lack of respect for human dignity. It is located within the military installation of the marines,inside the naval base in the port of Callao,near Lima.
It has been described as a ,tomb for the living",and its purpose is the physical, psychgological and moral destruction of our prisoners.Furthemore,it is part of the attempt to intimidate anyone who dares to stand up against the dictatorship.
It complies with a program originated in the darkest recesses of the army and secret service,designed to hinder,through fear, the formation of a revolutionary coordination of the Peruvian people,and it is accompanied by a selection of measures of control,coercion and repression,known as the ,socio-psychological campaign."
This omionous prison-tomb contains eight cells made of reinforced concrete,which are located 8metres below ground.This is part of the attempt to destroy the inmates :physical isolation,audio-isolation,visual isolation,darkness,lack of space and permanent maximum control.It is fitted with bugs and other surveillance systems, alarms,mines in various locations and permanently operating video cameras ; which are monitored from a central control room.What’s more there are walls with watch towers occupied by marines ,who are armed with long range rifles-FAL(made in Belgium.)
The cells are rectangular and measure 2m by 3m.On one side there is a heavy metal door closed by interlocking bolts,the keys of which are in the possession of different people ,all officers of the marine’s security corps.
On the lower part of these doors there is a small rectangular window,through which food is passed.It is designed so that our prisoners have no contact with the screws.
Inside each cell,next to the door there is a basin and toilet.The supplies of water are controlled from the outside and are subject to time limitations.There is no electric light,the cells are always completely or partially dark.
There is a 15 cm slot above the door of each cell at a height of about 2m,which allows natural light to enter for some minutes of the day.
The cells are grouped in fours around two small yards.Each cell faces another and has one to its side.These groups are located,as has been said,in holes dug 8m into the ground.
When our comrades were moved to this prison tomb,they were drugged with sedatives,so they lost their sense of time and could have no idea as to where the cells were located.
Thirty minutes recreation on the yard.
The prisoners are allowed 30 minutes every twenty four hours alone on the yard,where they may walk around ,read the bible or watch prepared videos.
Correspondence and access to information.
All correspondence is meticulously controlled by security.There is no right of correspondence.The inmates are allowed no access to books.magazines or newspapers,nor are they allowed to watch television or listen to the radio.
These are permitted once a month and last for 30 mins.Only close family members may visit.Inmates are allowed no physical contact with the visitors and the conversations are conducted via electrical audio equipment through shielded glass.All the conversations are taped.The visitors may bring clothes and food in cans to the inmates.All such things go through an exhaustive security check.The visitors reach the prison in hermetically sealed vehicles which allow them no opportunity to identify where the cells are.
The attempt to force , "a peace agreement."
Having put our prisoners in total isolation,the government,via its intermediary Vladimiro Montesinos,offered to improve the conditions of the prisoners in return for signing ,a peace agreement".This would include opening a dialogue with the government and the renunciation of the armed struggle.This offer,was made personally by Montesinos to general commander Polay Campos and was immediately rejected.The government official reacted angrily and threatened to have our comrade shot.This rejection was followed by those of our other imprisoned comrades and the dictatorship responded by making prison conditions harder.
Those who did submit to government pressure have received priveleges from the authorities.
The maximum security prison at Yanamo.
This prison was designated as being ,maximimum security" in 1990 and is located in the southerly department(region) of Puno at an altitiude of 3,800 m above sea level.The climate is cold,with temperatures around 15 c during the two months of summer and going down to -10 c during the winter(which lasts all the rest of the year.)This prison is built in the middle of a high Andian plateau and is an island in a desert of lonliness.It covers an area of approximately 10,000 sq.m.On the outside a force of a hundred ,black berets" has control ,and the complex is guarded by deployments of troops in trenches and armoured vehicles,lorries,vans and two helicopters,not to mention a mine field on the perimeter.Internal security is the responsibility of 300 members of elite sections of the police force.
The prison is made of reinforced concrete and brick.It consists of various wings,each with its own separate yard.MRTA prisoners are held in Wing 4a.
The cells measure 3m by 3m and house two inmates.There are toilets and sinks,but the possession of radio or tv is forbidden,as is cooking.The windows are unglassed and the door is a heavy metal grill,which means our comrades are constantly exposed to the cold mountain winds.This leads to continual health problems of the lungs,throat etc..
Following a decree of the dictatorship all new inmates must spend a year in complete isolation.After this they are kept in their cells for 23 and a half hours a day,with half an hour recreation on a small yard where not more than 14 prisoners are allowed at one time.No newspapers or magazines are allowed and all books,which must be brought by relatives, must first be censured and then may only be kept in the prison library.
No tools are permitted in the cells.
Punishments, which the screws can give out as they wish include :isolation in a 1m/2m cell with no light for up to 48 days,or the stopping of visits or recreation time.
The prison spends the equivelant of 60 cents(of an american dollar) per person per day on food and the quality is poor..Inmates have suffered drastic weight lose, which has lead to problems with their digestive systems and tuberculosis.Visitors are allowed to give food but the distant location of the prison means that most families can only afford to visit once year.
Only immediate family members are allowed to visit and require a special ,visitors card".No physical contact is allowed and conversation must be made loudly as the speakers are separated bz two grills with a large gap in between.Screws walk around the room continuosly during visits.
The maximimum security prison at Castro Castro.
This prison is located in the outskirts of Lima and was a model of high security until a detachment of MRTA members managed to liberate our comrades by the use of a 315m tunnel in 1990.
Under Fujimori security has been increased.Soldiers are responsibile for security outside and the police inside,many of them wear hoods to disguise their identities.
A great problem in this prison is overcrowding,as three prisoners must occupy a space of 6 sq. m along with their toilet for 23 and a half h.rs a day.
In these conditions there are great health problems ,such as : bronchial and lung complaints,problems with digestive system and tuberculosis.It is difficult to get medical attention and there are problems for relatives bringing food to the jail.Only precooked food or fruit may be brought to the prisoners and it must be consumed immediately.
Within the prison,as in the others, there is a room where the military trials are conducted by masked judges.The prisoners are brought in hooded and torture and maltreatment are common.
The maximum security prison at Chorrillos.
In the centre of Lima there is a prison for women accused of terrorist offences.
Although some of the staff is female,the security service is all male.This is the greatest difference from the other prisons,but everything else is the same.
It consists of three wings, each with three stories.On each of the floors there is line of adjacent cells ,which lead onto a narrow passage,from which the prison yards can be seen through a few small windows.
The cells are 2m/3m and on one side there are two bunks directly in front of a sink and wash basin.A comrade made the following denunciation to a visiting delegation from the International Red Cross :"It is prohibited to have a comb,a mirror,a photo,a letter,listen to music,watch television,or listen to the radio ;it is prohibited to talk about politics or current events ; it is forbidden to read,write,smoke..."
These cases reflect the conditions throughout Peru,such as in jails like Cajamarca,Ica,Arequipa,Huancayo,Huancavelica.
Due to theses conditions,and the violation of basic human rights we ask that the Solidarity organisations, non-governmental organisations and political organisations.....present here make declarations against this contemptous abuse of human dignity.