You might remember our publications from the beginning of the year about the murder of José Napoleón, an environmentalist villager who was brutally murdered on the last day of 2017 for defending the Private Conservation Area, Chaparrí. The murder followed many threats, violence and abuses toward the group defending the reserve. The long struggle is related to a big group of land invaders who took over large parts of the reserve and deforested it. This is most probably with the intention to dissolve the area´s conservation status, and open it for use by the several mining and water residuary concessions petitions for this area.
Unfortunately, the government of Peru still has not pressed charges against anyone related to the murder. On the other hand, the villagers defending the reserves are repeatedly being prosecuted for many different and false charges. For example, villagers were photographed fighting to stop a big forest fire started by the land invaders to the reserve. These photos were used to report to the police as if the villagers were the ones starting the fire. Therefore each of them are facing legal charges against them, which they must defend against using their own resources and time. The Chaparri case demonstrates the exceptionally high levels of corruption of the Peruvian Justice System, when it comes to the interests of extraction companies. The most distressing news from Chaparri is that Mr. Javier Ruiz, one of the most determined, brave and efficient actors in this straggle, has received a sentence of 3 years in jail for a crime he never committed. We are now planning a few events in Spain in order to fundraise for his legal costs and help support his family in this hard time.