Imprisoned Peruvian Army Colonel Denied Parole

Evangelical convicted of drug trafficking continues fight for justice as hope fades.

Peruvian army Col. David de Vinatea's fight for justice received another setback August 14 when a Lima judge denied the imprisoned evangelical's bid for early release. Judge Maria Castro of the Third Court, which only hears narco-trafficking cases, ruled that de Vinatea is ineligible for parole. De Vinatea's wife told Compass that her husband plans to appeal the ruling. Christian and legal observers, citing many irregularities in the decorated army officer's case since his 1995 arrest, believe de Vinatea is innocent of drug-trafficking crimes for which he is serving 16 years in Lima's Lurigancho Prison.The case remains riddled with irregularities, reports de Vinatea's wife, Chely, who said that the judge cited the national police's written "organic law" in ruling that de Vinatea was ineligible for early release because of the drug-trafficking conviction. Police who are convicted of narco-trafficking are not eligible for parole. De Vinatea, however, never served in Peru's police force."The judge is wrong in applying a law that pertains to the national police," Mrs. de Vinatea said. "My husband is in the army."The former colonel's family maintains that Peruvian law holds no reason for denying de Vinatea parole. The ruling is even more confusing to Mrs. de Vinatea, who says that justice officials who issued opinions in the case did not concur in their reasons for denying parole. One week before Judge Castro's ruling, the prosecutor recommended that the judge deny de Vinatea's parole. Among Mrs. de Vinatea's questions: Why did the judge begin requesting documents from de Vinatea in December if the law forbade his release? "I don't know why they did this," she lamented. "Nobody's going to say." She's not formally allowed to ask ...

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Imprisoned Peruvian Army Colonel Denied Parole
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August 2000

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