Two separate legal actions in the narco-trafficking case of Peruvian evangelical David de Vinatea have in effect ended his chances of gaining justice through Peru's legal system, say advocates for the imprisoned army colonel.

A coalition of Christian groups—who believe de Vinatea is an innocent victim of corruption—plans to take de Vinatea's case to the Inter-American Human Rights Court in Costa Rica and to the United Nations. They will also ask government officials in the United States and Europe, as well as other human rights groups, to join in supporting the case, said Richard Luna, director of Open Doors Latin America.

Peru's Supreme Court declared de Vinatea's complaint "unfounded" that he had been sentenced on the testimony of a single witness. The witness, convicted narco-trafficker Abelardo Cachique Rivera, later recanted his statements, saying that an official of the national terrorism police, or Dincote, had threatened him with a stiff prison sentence if he didn't implicate de Vinatea.

De Vinatea's lawyer, Juan Arturo Moscoso Alvarino, received the Supreme Court's decision January 17, but the ruling was dated January 10, the day he argued the case.

The court's written ruling gave no reasons for upholding de Vinatea's conviction. Luna said he suspects it was because Cachique Rivera's retraction had already been presented in lower courts during former President Alberto Fujimori's administration. For the Supreme Court to rule against a lower court decision, its judges must agree that the evidence presented is new—even though legal and human rights observers widely agree that the National Intelligence Service, influenced by drug-trafficking interests, largely controlled the courts under the now-disgraced and exiled Fujimori-Montesinos ...

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