LIMA – British missionary Paul McAuley, who received an expulsion order from Peru for participating in protests in the jungle region, will be allowed to remain in the country until his appeal of the order is resolved.
One of the Briton’s lawyers, Rita Ruck, told Efe that a court in the Loreto region agreed to here McAuley’s appeal of the expulsion order, which had called for him to leave Peru on Wednesday.
The 62-year-old McAuley, a lay member of the Catholic De La Salle teaching order who heads the environmental group Red Ambiental Loretana, was ordered to leave the country for participating in anti-government marches in the city of Iquitos.
McAuley’s lawyers filed a protective motion claiming that their client was not properly notified and had not been accorded the right to defend himself or to due process.
A habeas corpus appeal was also presented with the result that McAuley can travel freely throughout the country without being arrested, but he will have to wait several more days until this is finalized, Ruck said.
She said that the judges in the region “know the reality of Loreto,” where the activist had claimed that he devoted himself to monitoring the use of natural resources and, above all, the rights of the indigenous communities in the Peruvian jungle.
Among his activities, the missionary had presented claims before the Constitutional Court against lumber companies and had filed complaints about pollution allegedly caused by petroleum firms like Argentina’s Pluspetrol.
Meanwhile, the head of the Council of Ministers, Javier Velasquez, said last Monday that the government was not going to “back down” in its decision to expel McAuley, although he guaranteed that due process would be followed in the case of an appeal of the expulsion order.
“Foreigners may not participate in political activities” or encourage “protests under the cloak of the alleged defense of the environment,” Velasquez emphasized.
The government’s decision has been rejected by social institutions such as the National Human Rights Coordinator and the Interethnic Association for Development of the Peruvian Jungle, while in the city of Iquitos hundreds of people took to the streets this week in support of McAuley. EFE