12 February 1998


Arrieta faces possible arrest and detention

Incident details

Jose Arrieta Matos


legal action

(CPJ/IFEX) - CPJ reports the possible arrest and detention of investigative
journalist Jose Arrieta Matos should he return to Peru. CPJ invited Arrieta
to its offices in New York on 8 January 1998, after being informed that he
faced imminent arrest in Peru.

**Updates IFEX alerts of 17 December 1997 and 7 January 1998 - for more
information about Frecuencia Latina-Canal 2, see various IFEX alerts from 1997**

Arrieta, the former head of the investigative unit at Frecuencia
Latina-Canal 2, was first summoned to appear before the National Board
Against Terrorism (DINCOTE) on 18 December 1997. With his lawyer present,
Arrieta was interrogated for seven hours by Captain Oscar Arriola Delgado
about his sources in the Peruvian intelligence services. After the grueling
interrogation, Arrieta asked if he was being questioned as a witness or as a
person accused of a crime. He was told that he faced possible arrest. Two
weeks later, Arrieta learned that his arrest was imminent. A few days after
he left Peru, a high government official reportedly commented that it was a
miracle that Arrieta had managed to get out of Peru before he was arrested.

CPJ has concluded that attempts to intimidate and possibly detain Arrieta
had been taken in response to his reporting, and therefore constitute a
direct attack on freedom of expression and a violation of international
guarantees. Article IV of the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties
of Man states that every person has the right to freedom of investigation,
of opinion, and of the expression and dissemination of ideas, by any medium
whatsoever. Peru ratified the American Convention on Human Rights, which
reiterates these rights (Article 13).

Background Information

Throughout his career as an investigative journalist, Arrieta has broken a
number of extremely important stories which highlighted official abuses and
corruption. As head of the investigative unit at Frecuencia Latina-Canal 2,
he reported how former member of the intelligence service, Leonor La Rosa,
was tortured by her colleagues after she revealed a secret plan, code-named
Bermuda, to murder journalists and opponents of the government. Arrieta also
produced a series of reports on the paramilitary group, Colina, which was
allegedly responsible for a dynamite attack on Congressman Javier Diez
Canseco in 1990. Arrieta's source for that story was ex-military
intelligence officer Jose Luis Bazan Adrianzen, a former member of Colina.
In several interviews, aired in January 1995 and in April 1997, Bazan
admitted that he participated in the dynamite attack. He was jailed in April
1997 for eight months for having revealed state secrets. After being
released from prison in December 1997, Bazan suddenly recanted his
testimony. During his interrogation at DINCOTE, Arrieta was told he could be
arrested for allegedly bribing Bazan to admit to his involvement in the
assassination attempt.

Arrieta had resigned from his job in September 1997 when Canal 2's owner,
Baruch Ivcher, was stripped of his citizenship and control of the station
was turned over to his minority partners. That action was taken by Peruvian
authorities in response to the station's investigative stories on secret
intelligence operations, many of them broken by Arrieta.

Recommended Action

Send appeals to authorities:

  • urging them to clarify whether or not criminal charges have been filed
    against Arrieta
  • if no charges exist, asking them to state this information publicly so that
    Arrieta can return to Peru without fear of arrest
  • if charges have been filed, demanding them to specify their exact nature so
    that Arrieta is able to prepare a legal defense, and urging them to respect,
    at a minimum, international norms regarding due process

    Appeals To

    His Excellency Alberto Fujimori
    President of the Republic of Peru
    Palacio de Gobierno
    Lima, Peru
    Fax: +511 4266770 (o Secretaria de Prensa +511 4266535)

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

  • Source

    Committee to Protect Journalists
    330 7th Ave., 11th Floor
    New York, NY 10001
    info (@) cpj.org
    Fax:+1 212 465 9568
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