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(ANS) – Two Christian prisoners, one of whom has spent ten years behind bars, have recently been declared innocent in Peru . The first, Lucio Vilca Galindo, was arrested for the second time in April 1995. He was accused of treason against the state — a crime for which he had already been tried and acquitted, according to a report from Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) obtained by ASSIST News Service (ANS). CSW says Galindo’s first trial in 1993 was in a Naval Court where he was accused along with a group of others of being part of the Sendero Luminoso (Shining Path) and participating in subversive acts. The co-accused, however, stated in various forms that they had never met Lucio before and he was released. CSW also said Galindo’s release and subsequent complaints about his treatment by the police angered the officers in charge of his case. Representatives from CEAS, a Peru-based human rights organization, believe that these same officers encouraged a ‘repented terrorist’ to denounce Lucio. This time Lucio was tried by the Army. The denunciation was the only evidence against him but he was still found guilty and sentenced to life in prison leaving his wife and five children destitute. CEAS, a Christian Solidarity Worldwide partner, took up Lucio’s case, and has fought for his freedom for the past five years. He was found innocent on March 17 and was due to be released the next day. CSW has visited Lucio in the Lima prison three times and CEAS reports that CSW supporters sent him more than 3,000 letters and cards. The second person to be released is a Peruvian evangelical pastor, arrested on March 3. 2005 in Lima . On March 11, Pastor Jose Garcia Pena was released by order of Judge Ana Vasquez, according to the same CSW report.
Pastor Garcia, from Cuzco , was visiting Lima when he was informed there was a warrant for his arrest and was promptly arrested and imprisoned. His name, which is fairly common in Peru , apparently appeared on wanted lists for crimes of terrorism issued by courts in the northern cities of Piura and Lambayeque.