ASUNCION – Relatives of the 11 peasants of the Curuguaty massacre that in 2012 took the lives of 17 people and forced the resignation of President Fernando Lugo, on Sunday once again asked for pardons for all the accused on the day before the court is due to issue a verdict in the matter.
The 11 peasants stand accused of criminal association, invasion of someone else’s property and murder, and prosecutors had asked for between 5 and 30 years in prison for them, while the defense is demanding their acquittal.
The accusation involves the June 15, 2012, move by hundreds of police to oust about 70 peasants from lands they had occupied to demand agrarian reform.
During the operation, shooting erupted that killed 11 peasants and six police, but the Attorney General’s Office never investigated the deaths of the peasants.
Since last Monday, five women have chained themselves to the bars in front of the Palace of Justice in Asuncion to demand that all 11 men be released.
They were joined over the course of the week by other women related to the accused, as well as activists demanding their release, and various organizations and citizens set up tents and gathered nearby to cook meals, sing songs alluding to the case and offer religious ceremonies to pray for acquittal.
Activist Guillermina Kanonnikoff, who supports the accused, said that they were “ambushed by the police, were shot at and are the real victims” of the massacre.
She said that the AG’s investigation was a “one-way street” plagued with “contradictions.”