With the casting vote of Rosio Torres, the congressional working group dismissed the case for the deaths of Inti Sotelo and Bryan Pintado.
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The Subcommittee on Constitutional Accusations of Congress archived this Friday with eight votes in favor, seven against and one abstention the complaint of the National Prosecutor's Office against former President Manuel Merino de Lama and two of his former ministers for the deaths of the young Inti Sotelo and Bryan Pintado, during the November 2020 protests.
Initially, the vote resulted in a tie of seven to seven votes, so the representative of the Alliance for Progress (APP) and president of the working group, Rosio Torres, used her casting vote, with which the balance tipped in favor of filing the case.
Con voto dirimente de Rosío Torres, subcomisión aprobó informe que recomienda archivar denuncia constitucional contra Manuel Merino. 8 votos a favor, 7 en contra y 1 abstención. Congresista Reymundo Mercado solicitó reconsideración de la votación. @Politica_ECpe pic.twitter.com/3wIImCPp1z
— Thalía Cadenas (@ThaliaCadenas) June 17, 2022
The complaint was filed in October of last year by the then prosecutor of the Nation Zoraida Ávalos, so that the investigations of Merino, the former head of the Ministerial Cabinet Ántero Flores-Aráoz and the former head of the Interior Gastón Rodríguez could continue. All of them have the right of preliminary hearing, so the file must go through Parliament.
This was the subcommittee session:
Merino, Flores-Aráoz and Rodríguez were charged with the alleged crimes of homicide (by improper omission), serious injuries and minor injuries, due to the demonstrations in which 78 people were also injured.
The report that recommended filing the case was supported in the session by parliamentarian Alejandro Cavero, from Avanza País, delegate for this case, who During his presentation, he mentioned that the “unfortunate deaths” of the young people “were not the responsibility of the accused” and that “the responsibility of the police is not proven.”
The congresswomen from Cambio Democrático Ruth Luque and Sigrid Bazán were also present at the session, who had previously requested to participate, despite the fact that they are not members of the aforementioned subcommittee.
The report was prepared by Congressman Alejandro Cavero. Photo: Congreso/
Cavero's presentation was followed by a brief debate in which only legislators María Taipe (Free Peru), Segundo Quiroz (Bloc Magisterial ), Edgard Reymundo (Democratic Change) and Martha Moyano (Popular Force). The floor was also given to Luque and Bazán, who – like their bench colleague Reymundo – criticized the report.
Bazán pointed out that in the document “the prosecutor's office is cited in some things, when it is convenient” and “in others it contradicts” the Public Ministry.
In this regard, Cavero replied that all the evidence and witnesses were “provided by the prosecution itself in the complaint.”
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Congresswoman Moyano had a similar position: “The National Prosecutor, who is the one who accuses, has not summoned or requested, in any way, anyone on the part of the victims.”
After knowing the result of the vote, Reymundo announced that he would file a request for reconsideration with the aim of reversing the decision.
In a dialogue with El Comercio, Percy Castillo, deputy for Human Rights of the Ombudsman's Office, expressed the institution's rejection of this decision, which “fails to comply with the duty to exhaustively investigate any violation of human rights.”
Con esta decisión el Estado incumple deber de investigar exhaustivamente toda violación a derechos humanos. Evaluaremos las vías jurídicas pertinentes para corregir afectación a los derechos de familiares de los fallecidos y víctimas. #DerechoALaProtesta (2/2)
— Defensoría Perú (@Defensoria_Peru) June 17, 2022
Castillo added that “the Public Ministry and the Judiciary” are prevented from determining whether Merino de Lama and his ministers were responsible. The representative of the defense also indicated that “Merino continues to be susceptible to other constitutional complaints being filed against him.”
Meanwhile, Congresswoman Luque, from Cambio Democrático, considered that, with its actions, the subcommittee perpetuates “the shielding and impunity” with a “Unfortunate vote” of its president Rosio Torres, “who in her role should take part in the investigation that allows the prosecution to deepen.” “Mr. Cavero has decided to be a prosecutor, judge and expert and has rejected evidence,” he added.
This newspaper sought to contact Congressman Alejandro Cavero and with the parliamentarians who voted in favor of the report; however, at press time, no response was received.
This was the filed constitutional complaint: