Thursday, December 03, 2009

"Fat-Killings" in Peru a Cover-Up for Extrajudicial Police Killings

A couple of weeks ago, a story made the rounds about a gang in Peru killing people for their fat, which they then sold to cosmetics companies. It was macabre but strangely intriguing. Unfortunately, it turns out that the police's report of these killings was untrue, and the truth is much more disturbing:

Peru's police chief dismissed the head of his criminal investigations unit Tuesday amid suggestions that officers may have invented a story about a murderous gang of human fat thieves, perhaps to distract from allegations of police killings. [...]

Former Deputy Interior Minister Carlos Basombrio suggested some police cooked up the story to divert attention from a recently published magazine article alleging police had killed 46 suspects in 2007 and 2008 in the coastal town of Trujillo.

"My hypothesis is that they were mainly trying to cover up the tremendous revelation of extrajudicial killings of criminals in Trujillo made by Ricardo Uceda ... in Poder magazine," Basombrio wrote on the political analysis blog Espacio Compartido.

Extrajudicial killings in any case are bad; the fact that some police in Peru have made up this story about a gang killing people for their fat in order to cover up the police's own illegal activities is just sad. It's really hard to find any good news in a story involving dozens killed, be it by gangs or by police, but I suppose if the police are prosecuted for this, then at least there will be some sense of justice in eastern Peru.