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Peru

Section 1. Respect for the Integrity of the Person, Including Freedom from:

d. Arbitrary Arrest or Detention

The constitution and law prohibit arbitrary arrest and detention and provide for the right of any person to challenge the lawfulness of his/her arrest or detention in court, and the government generally observed these prohibitions. The government constitutionally suspended the right to freedom from arrest without warrant in designated emergency zones.

ROLE OF THE POLICE AND SECURITY APPARATUS

The PNP is responsible for all areas of law enforcement and internal security, including migration and border security. The PNP functions under the authority of the Ministry of Interior. The armed forces are responsible for external security under the authority of the Ministry of Defense. The armed forces have limited domestic security responsibilities, particularly in the Valley of the Apurimac, Ene, and Mantaro Rivers (VRAEM) emergency zone.

Corruption and a high rate of acquittals in civilian courts for military personnel accused of crimes remained serious problems. The Public Ministry conducted investigations, although access to evidence held by the Ministry of Defense was not always forthcoming. The Ombudsman’s Office can also investigate cases and submit conclusions to the Public Ministry for follow-up. The Ministries of Interior and Defense employed internal mechanisms to investigate allegations of security force abuse. The Ministry of Interior’s Office of Inspector General reported that it disciplined approximately 33,400 police officers from January to September, compared with 7,400 in the first eight months of 2016. Analysts attributed the increase in disciplinary actions to ministry reforms in the police force.

Police continued operating under a use-of-force doctrine adopted in 2015. When a police action causes death or injury, the law requires an administrative investigation and notification to the appropriate oversight authorities. The law is applicable to all police force members and defines the principles, rules, situations, and limitations for police use of force and firearms.

ARREST PROCEDURES AND TREATMENT OF DETAINEES

The law requires a written judicial warrant based on sufficient evidence for an arrest, unless authorities apprehend the alleged perpetrator of a crime in the act. Only judges may authorize detentions. Authorities are required to arraign arrested persons within 24 hours, except in cases of suspected terrorism, drug trafficking, or espionage, for which arraignment must take place within 15 days. In remote areas arraignment must take place as soon as practicable. Military authorities must turn over persons they detain to police within 24 hours. Police must file a report with the Public Ministry within 24 hours after an arrest. The Public Ministry, in turn, must issue its own assessment of the legality of the police action in the arrest, and authorities respected this requirement.

The law permits detainees access to family members and a lawyer of their choice. Police may detain suspected terrorists incommunicado for 10 days.

Pretrial Detention: Lengthy pretrial detention continued to be a problem. As of June authorities had sentenced only 49,014 of the 84,741 detainees held in detention facilities and prisons. Delays were due mainly to judicial inefficiency, corruption, and staff shortages. The law requires the release of prisoners held more than nine months whom the justice system has not tried and sentenced; the period is 18 months for complex cases.

Section 2. Respect for Civil Liberties, Including:

a. Freedom of Speech and Press

The constitution provides for freedom of expression, including for the press, and the government mainly respected this right. Generally, an independent press and a functioning democratic political system promoted freedom of expression.

Violence and Harassment: Numerous journalists alleged police, protesters, and company personnel assaulted and threatened them while covering various protests and incidents of social unrest. The Press and Society Institute reported the most common type of threat was made against local radio and television broadcast journalists who investigated local government authorities for corruption. The institute alleged the aggressors were often local and regional government officials, such as mayors and regional governors.

Police continued to investigate the 2016 killing of radio journalist Hernan Choquepata Ordonez in the coastal province of Camana, Arequipa Region. Reports suggested Choquepata was killed after he criticized mayors of the municipalities of Camana and Mariscal Caceres.

Censorship or Content Restrictions: Some media, most notably in the provinces outside of Lima, continued to practice self-censorship due to fear of local government reprisal.

Libel/Slander Laws: The law criminalizes libel. In contrast with 2016, there were no reports that officials intimidated reporters with possible libel charges.

Nongovernmental Impact: Some media reported that narcotics traffickers and persons engaged in illegal mining activities threatened press freedom by intimidating journalists who reported information that undermined their operations.

INTERNET FREEDOM

The government did not restrict or disrupt access to the internet or censor online content, and there were no credible reports that the government monitored private online communications without appropriate legal authority.

According to the National Statistics and Information Institute, 62 percent of the population used the internet (including cell phone users). The International Telecommunication Union reported that 45 percent of the population used the internet in 2016.

ACADEMIC FREEDOM AND CULTURAL EVENTS

There were no government restrictions on academic freedom or cultural events.

b. Freedom of Peaceful Assembly and Association

The constitution provides for the freedoms of peaceful assembly and association, and the government generally respected these rights.

FREEDOM OF PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY

The law does not require a permit for public demonstrations, but organizers must report the type of demonstration planned and coordinate its intended location to the appropriate regional representative. The government suspended freedom of assembly in the VRAEM emergency zone, where armed elements of the Shining Path and drug traffickers operated, as well as in regions suffering from crime and public health crises.

The government may restrict or prohibit demonstrations in specific times and places to assure public safety or health. Police used tear gas and occasional force to disperse protesters in various demonstrations, such as the nationwide teacher strike in August. Although most protests were peaceful, protests in some areas turned violent, resulting in two deaths and 82 injuries from January to September (see section 6, Other Societal Violence and Discrimination).

Section 3. Freedom to Participate in the Political Process

The law provides citizens the ability to choose their government in free and fair periodic elections held by secret ballot and based on universal and equal suffrage.

Elections and Political Participation

Recent Elections: Pedro Pablo Kuczynski assumed the presidency in July 2016 after a second round of presidential elections. Domestic and international observers declared the nationwide elections–held in April (for president, the National Congress, and the Andean Parliament) and in June (a second round for the presidential race only)–to be fair and transparent, despite controversy over the exclusion of two presidential candidates for administrative violations of election-related laws.

Political Parties and Political Participation: Political parties operated without restriction or outside interference, although many remained weak institutions dominated by individual personalities. By law groups that advocate the violent overthrow of the government and express ideologies incompatible with democracy cannot register as political parties.

Participation of Women and Minorities: No laws limit participation of women and/or members of minorities in the political process, and they did participate.

Section 4. Corruption and Lack of Transparency in Government

The law provides criminal penalties for officials engaged in corruption; however, the government did not always implement the law effectively, and officials often engaged in corrupt practices with impunity. There were numerous reports of corruption by government officials during the year. Citizens continued to view corruption as a pervasive problem in all branches of national, regional, and local governments.

Corruption: Several high-profile political figures were under investigation for corruption. Former president Ollanta Humala and first lady Nadine Heredia were in pretrial detention while under investigation on money-laundering and corruption charges. The government requested the provisional arrest of former president Toledo from the United States for allegedly accepting bribes during his administration.

There were allegations of widespread corruption in the judicial system. Although the new criminal procedure code was not fully implemented in Lima and Callao, the government applied it to corruption cases in these two judicial districts. In 2014 authorities arrested former regional governor Cesar Alvarez for homicide and corruption-related crimes and well-connected businessman Rodolfo Orellana for fraud and money laundering. Both were accused of bribing vast networks of police officers, judges, prosecutors, and other public officials to protect themselves from prosecution. In 2015 authorities dismissed then attorney general Carlos Ramos Heredia for impeding investigations into corruption networks orchestrated by Alvarez and Orellana. As of October the government’s cases against Alvarez and Orellana were pending. A special congressional investigative commission, the Public Ministry, and the National Magistrates Council continued investigations into the networks.

Members of Congress enjoy congressional immunity from prosecution for any acts committed during their time in the legislature. In the case of flagrant crimes, the judicial branch may request that Congress lift immunity and allow the arrest of a member. By law congressional immunity does not apply to crimes committed before the member was sworn in, but in practice it impeded most prosecutions.

Corruption in prisons remained a serious problem. Observers cited numerous cases of guards cooperating with criminal bosses who oversaw the smuggling of guns and drugs into prisons. In addition there were several reports of military corruption, impunity, and resistance in providing evidence on military personnel under investigation for human rights abuses committed during the country’s internal conflict.

Financial Disclosure: By law most public officials must submit personal financial information to the Office of the Comptroller General prior to taking office and periodically thereafter. The Comptroller General’s Office monitors and verifies disclosures, but the law was not strongly enforced. Administrative sanctions for noncompliance range from 30-day to one-year suspensions, include bans on signing government contracts, and culminate with a ban from holding government office. The comptroller makes disclosures available to the public. A 2016 law enables the Superintendency of Banks’ Financial Intelligence Unit to access individual or corporate tax records and bank accounts for public officials under investigation for money laundering and other crimes.

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