- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 3, 2007

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents have arrested two former Peruvian military officers and an Argentine ex-major suspected of committing crimes against humanity in their South American countries.

ICE spokeswoman Kadia H. Koroma said Telmo Ricardo Hurtado-Hurtado, an ex-Peruvian Army platoon commander, was arrested in Miami on visa-fraud charges. According to Peruvian military court records, he led the massacre of 69 villagers during a 1985 military raid in an area known as a stronghold of the Shining Path guerrillas.

Ms. Koroma said ICE agents in Baltimore also arrested Juan Manuel Rivera-Rondon, a former Peruvian Army officer, also named by Peruvian authorities as participating in the 1985 massacre.

She said ICE agents in the Plains, Va., also arrested Ernesto Guillermo Barreiro, 60, a retired Army major who was Argentina’s chief interrogator during the military dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983.

Barreiro, according to Argentine documents, served as the chief interrogator at a clandestine detention and torture facility during the “dirty war” period. He is accused in Argentina of being responsible for the torture and death of several people considered political opponents of the ruling dictatorship.

“ICE will not allow the United States to be a safe haven for those who have come to our country in an effort to evade prosecution and punishment for the crimes they have committed against others,” said Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Julie L. Myers, who heads ICE. “We will not relent in our efforts to ensure that human rights violators are brought to justice and removed from our communities.”

According to Peruvian military records, Hurtado-Hurtado commanded a platoon of soldiers that entered the rural village of Accomarca in search of members of the Shining Path guerrilla movement. He and his troops were accused of raping the women and, at his command, murdering children, elderly people and pregnant women.

Hurtado-Hurtado, 45, was convicted in his homeland in 1993 in the massacre and sentenced to six years in a Peruvian military prison. A military court granted him amnesty in 1995, but the amnesty was voided in January 2002 and his case referred back to the Peruvian Military Council to ensure he complied with the original sentence.

Peru requested Hurtado-Hurtado’s extradition from the United States in 2005 to face additional charges in the massacre.

Ms. Koroma said Hurtado-Hurtado faces criminal charges in this country of falsely stating in his visa application he had never been arrested or convicted of a crime. In addition, she said, he also faces administrative charges of extrajudicial killing, visa fraud and visa overstay. Hurtado will be subject to deportation to Peru after criminal proceedings in this country.

She said Rivera-Rondon is in ICE custody facing administrative charges and will be placed into removal proceeding with the goal of returning him to Peru, where he will be turned over to local authorities to face charges for his role in the 1985 Accomarca killings.

Ms. Koroma said Barreiro faces charges in this country of visa fraud, after which he will be placed into removal proceedings with the goal of returning him to Argentina, where he will be turned over to local authorities to face charges in that country.

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