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Peru's Humala denies role in deadly 2005 police station takeover

Peru's Humala denies role in deadly 2005 police station takeover

Peru's ex-presidential candidate Ollanta Humala on Thursday likened recent charges that he masterminded his brother's deadly takeover of a police station to "potholes" in his political career.
Humala is accused of being the "intellectual author" of the four-day siege that killed six people and was charged Tuesday with rebellion. He faces 10 to 20 years in prison if convicted.
"I consider this judicial smearing that I am immersed in to be like potholes that the political road presents to politicians who truly want change for the nation," said Humala, who is free on US$1,600 (euro1,238) bail but barred from leaving Peru. "I am going to defend my innocence."
Humala, who lost the June presidential runoff to Alan Garcia, is already fighting separate human rights abuse charges stemming from his command of a jungle counterinsurgency base in 1992.
He said Thursday that he hoped the charges in both cases were not "part of a political persecution that could blur or muddle democratic and political stability in the country."
Humala was a military attache in Peru's embassy in South Korea at the time of the attack. His younger brother, Antauro Humala, who is in jail for homicide, led 160 ultra-nationalist rebels to seize a remote Peruvian police station, demanding the resignation of then-President Alejandro Toledo.
Four police died in an ambush and two ultra-nationalists were killed by police snipers.
In a videotaped statement to reporters during the standoff, Antauro Humala said his brother had chosen the site of the uprising and later said Ollanta had ordered them to lay down arms.
Ollanta reiterated Thursday that he had no prior knowledge of the attack. He pointed out a prison interview that his brother gave to local media in April in which Antauro said he had lied about Ollanta's involvement.
At the time of the takeover, Ollanta was facing forced retirement from the military. From South Korea, he publicly called on army reservists in Peru to start a "popular insurrection" against Toledo's government.
But Ollanta quickly distanced himself from Antauro's action after it turned deadly.
He said Thursday the violence marked the political "breaking point" between his nationalist movement _ which he called "radical" but "respectful of the law" _ and his brother's "extremist" organization.
It was the second time the brothers urged the military to help unseat a president. In October 2000, they staged a small, ineffective rebellion as President Alberto Fujimori's government collapsed as a result of corruption scandals.


Updated : 2021-06-16 22:32 GMT+08:00