Case against Amazon Indian Leader in Peru ‘Closed’

A two-year legal case against the leader of Peru’s Amazon Indian organisation has been shelved.

Alberto Pizango was forced into exile following violent clashes between indigenous protesters and police in June 2009 which left 33 dead.

Violence broke out after months of social unrest over new government legislation that Indians feared would undermine their rights to their land.

Pizango was accused of “sedition, conspiracy and rebellion” but this month Judge Oscar Atilio Quispe Cama announced the charges were to be shelved.

Cases against other indigenous leaders Marcial Mudarra Taki, Saúl Puerta Peña, Cervando Puerta Peña and Teresita Antazú López have also been dropped.

In April, three senior police and army officers were charged in connection with the massacre in Peru’s northern Amazon region of Bagua.

Survival International’s Director, Stephen Corry, said today, “The court’s decision will come as a great relief for the Indians and all those who have fought for their integrity. But the underlying problems at the root of this terrible event remain: Indian land is still being targeted for development projects without their consent.”