August 4, 2009
Nearly 50 wounded protestors may be sent to jail as soon as they are released by doctors, according to AIDESEP, Peru’s main Amazon Indian confederation. Santiago Manuin, the prominent Awajun Indian leader, is among them and will be jailed and tried on charges of inciting murder once he recovers from injuries suffered from police bullets during a June 5 demonstration over the government’s plan to allow development on traditional indigenous lands in the Amazon.
According to the UN special envoy on indigenous rights, James Anaya, it will be difficult to resolve the dispute, which involves some 350,000 members of the Amazon indigenous community, if the government treats the protest leaders as criminals.
Many other Peruvian indigenous wounded in the protests have not sought out medical attention because of fears that they too will be arrested. Three officials of AIDESEP, including its top leader Alberto Pizango, have taken asylum in Nicaragua to avoid sedition and rebellion charges.