Javier Tuanama Valera

Beats Covered:
Local or Foreign:

Tuanama, editor in chief of the magazine Hechos, was sentenced in 1992 to 15 years in prison by a “faceless” judge from the Superior Court of Lambayeque. (In Peru, “faceless” judges hide their identities to prevent reprisals by guerrilla groups.) He was first detained on October 16, 1990, and charged with having links to the rebel group Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement (MRTA).
Tuanama was acquitted twice of the charges in 1994. He was released, but was soon arrested again when a former member of the MRTA–acting under the Repentance Law, which allows terrorists to surrender and inform on former comrades–confessed that Tuanama had recruited him into the group. The same individual later recanted, but Tuanama remained in Picsi Prison in the northern city of Chiclayo. After a second trial, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
CPJ protested Tuanama’s conviction in a trial that fell far below international standards of due process. In June 1995, one of Tuanama’s sisters complained that his medical condition was deteriorating because he had no access to medical care for his acute arthritis. In April 1996, he was transferred to the Huacaris Prison in Cajamarca.
CPJ inquired about Tuanama’s legal status in a December 22, 1997, letter to which Peruvian authorities did not reply. His case remains under review by the ad hoc commission that was established by President Alberto K. Fujimori in 1996 to examine the files of those convicted under Peru’s anti-terrorism laws.