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(Washington, DC) – The 35-year sentence for grave human rights abuses of the former head of Peru’s intelligence service is an important step for justice, Human Rights Watch said today.

Gen. Julio Salazar Monroe, former head of the National Intelligence Service (SIN) during the Fujimori government, was sentenced on April 8, 2008 to 35 years in prison for the abduction and murder of nine students and a professor from La Cantuta University in 1992. Three of his subordinates received 15-year sentences for the same offenses.

“The Salazar conviction is an important step on Peru’s path to justice for the atrocities committed during the Fujimori presidency,” said José Miguel Vivanco, director of the Americas division at Human Rights Watch.

On July 18, 1992, armed men entered the university’s student dormitories in the middle of the night, abducting nine students and a professor, and executing all of them. The court established that the Colina Group, an army intelligence death squad, was responsible for the crime, and that Salazar had ordered the murders.

Former president Alberto Fujimori is currently on trial in Lima for involvement in the Cantuta case and other human rights crimes attributed to the Colina Group, as well as multiple charges of corruption. In a 2005 report, “Probable Cause: Evidence Implicating Fujimori,” Human Rights Watch documented the former president’s alleged involvement in many abuses.

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