Armed men overpowered a night guard at the Peace and Hope Association's Lima, Peru, office and left with four computers, each containing sensitive data on cases defended by the evangelical legal aid and human rights organization.
The November 4 burglary was similar to another break-in of a human rights organization just three days prior, said Peace and Hope lawyer German Vargas. Because the thieves in both raids left undisturbed valuable items such as fax machines and printer, Peace and Hope lawyers believe that the burglars were looking for computer files on cases the organization has defended since the 1980s, Vargas said.
"They took away important information on human rights violations, along with pronouncements and analyses of the country's political crisis," said Alfonso Wieland, Peace and Hope's director, in a press release. "All of these actions are evident signs of a campaign of disablement and intimidation of the work which (Peace and Hope) carries out in defense of human rights."
At around 9 p.m. on Saturday, November 4, an unknown assailant hit guard Guillermo Valladares on the head with a pistol, Vargas told Compass. He said the assailant then bound, gagged and held the guard captive on the floor of the office's second-floor bathroom. Three or four men with silencers on their pistols entered Peace and Hope's offices, communicating with each other via mobile phone while another pointed a pistol at the guard's chest.
The men remained in the offices for more than three hours before they made off with the computers and a scanner. A small amount of cash left in a desk remained undisturbed, Vargas said.
Valladares told Peace and Hope lawyers that he overheard the men speculate over their mobile phones about the location ...1
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