Paraguay: campesinos attacked, tortured

On April 18, some 30 police agents accompanied by armed civilians detained and beat up five campesinos in the Paraguayan community of Paraguai Pyahu, in Guajayvi district of San Pedro department. Led by Menelio Orue, chief of the local police station, the agents also tied 11-year-old Blas Argana to a tree, slapped him and beat him on the soles of his feet to try to get him to reveal the location of his father, who was being sought by police. The agents kept Argana tied to the tree for a half hour. When they released him, they gave him 2,000 guaranies and demanded he keep quiet about the incident.

Orue told Juan Martens, a lawyer from the Human Rights Coordinating Committee of Paraguay (CODEHUPY), that the raid was ordered by prosecutor Lilian Ruiz, based in Santani, with the aim of arresting campesinos wanted by the police, allegedly for marijuana cultivation. The five campesinos who were beaten and detained were held overnight at the police station in San Estanislao, even though they had nothing to do with Ruiz’s investigation. They included legal rights advocate Teodoro Jimenez, who had come to the community at the request of parents whose children attended the local school; the parents were considering filing a constitutional writ of protection because of the constant harassment they suffer from armed civilians. Ruiz freed the five detainees on April 19 with an apology for the police abuses. (Resumen Latinoamericano, April 26)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, April 29

See our last post on Paraguay.