RIMROCK, AZ–InvestigativeMEDIA and MiningWatch, Canada, today sent a joint letter to the U.S. and Canadian ambassadors to Peru asking them to seek information from Peruvian officials about last April’s detention of John Dougherty and Jen Moore in Cusco, Peru.
Mr. Dougherty is the owner and editor of InvestigativeMEDIA and Ms. Moore is the Latin American Coordinator for Ottawa-based MiningWatch, Canada.
Peruvian National Police and immigration authorities detained Mr. Dougherty and Ms. Moore on the street after the screening of InvestigativeMEDIA’s documentary “Flin Flon Flim Flam” at Cusco’s Municipal Cultural Center on Friday, April 21. The film had been dubbed into Spanish and Quechua.
The film documents Toronto-based Hudbay Minerals’ worldwide operations and highlights its deployment of the Peruvian National Police to beat and teargas protesters near its Constancia open-pit copper mine near Uchucarco, Peru in November 2014.
Hudbay confirmed in May that it continues to have a contract with the Peruvian National Police to provide security services.
Mr. Dougherty and Ms. Moore were taken to police headquarters and held for more than four hours and pressured to sign statements. Mr. Dougherty refused to sign any documents without an English-speaking attorney present. There was no warrant issued for their arrest.
The next day, the Peruvian Interior Ministry issued an inflammatory press release (English translation) accusing Mr. Dougherty and Ms. Moore of inciting civil disturbance that is punishable by expulsion from Peru for up to 15 years. The press release noted that Hudbay has all permits to operate in Peru.
Prior to their arrival in Peru, anonymous articles published in a Cuscso newspaper alleged that Mr. Dougherty and Ms. Moore were preparing “to ambush” Hudbay. Subsequent articles accused the two of inciting violence after several Hudbay copper concentrate transport trucks caught on fire.
“We believe the stigmatization in the press and by a public authority, along with the police harassment, illegal and arbitrary detention and our ongoing legal prosecution is a result of the privatization of the public security apparatus in Peru and about state authorities and Hudbay Minerals trying to exert control over what information communities living around the company’s Constancia mine have access to,” the joint letter to the ambassadors states.
The letter requests the ambassadors to ask the following questions to Peruvian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights:
- Why were Mr. Dougherty and Ms. Moore subjected to this sort of surveillance, harassment and criminalization?
- Why were police tracking their movements from April 18 to 20?
- Why did the police fail to duly notify Mr. Dougherty and Ms. Moore and allow them the appropriate time to respond to any concerns about their migratory status, if that was indeed the concern, and instead illegally and arbitrarily detain them for four hours on April 21?
- On what basis did the Interior Ministry publicly accuse Mr. Dougherty and Ms. Moore, on April 22, of having incited local campesino populations to violence and demonize them as a threat to public order, internal order and even national security.
Mr. Dougherty and Ms. Moore left Peru prior to a hearing that was scheduled for Monday, April 24. Both are currently represented by separate legal counsel. Police released an April 22 initial report that documented the screening of the film in several communities near Hudbay’s Constancia open-pit copper mine. No other evidence has been released as of June 20.