20 Jun 2024, 08:53

Retired Peruvian soldiers sentenced for raping rural women and girls in 1980s

LIMA, June 20, 2024 (BSS/AFP) - A Peruvian court on Wednesday sentenced 10 retired soldiers to up to 12 years in prison for having raped nine rural women and girls in the 1980s as the army fought Shining Path Maoist guerrillas.

The sentencing ended five years of hearings in the first case in the South American country to address sexual crimes committed by soldiers. The guilty verdicts against these men were handed down in earlier proceedings.

Judge Rene Eduardo Martinez sentenced the men, none of whom were in court, to between six and 12 years' imprisonment.

The case dates back to 1984 when the army set up a base near the Andean towns of Manta and Vilca in Huancavelica, one of Peru's poorest regions.

Many of the victims were minors when they were raped, and five became pregnant as a result, their lawyers told the court.

"These have been 40 long years of struggle," a victim identified only as Maria said in a voice message sent by her lawyer to AFP.

Maria, now 54, has two children that were the product of rape.

"Hopefully ... these criminals will now go to prison," she said.

According to Peru's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, hundreds of cases of rape, sexual slavery, prostitution and forced abortion were committed during the country's 1980-2000 war between state forces and the Shining Path.

More than 69,000 people died or disappeared during Peru's internal conflict, with abuses on both sides, according to the commission.


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