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The Monterrico Torturers: Peru’s Congress will lay the blame on the company

Ooh, lordy! Dana Ford at Reuters Lima has just filed a great note about the Monterrico torture case, and you can read it below. If, as seems to be the case, the blame is being settled on the heads of the privately contracted security company (now owned by Swiss group Securitas) by the Peruvian Congressional enquiry, this mean Monterrico (MNA.L) is well and truly on the hook for the things that took place inside its grounds in August 2005. As contractor, it is directly responsible for their actions, y’see.

Last time I looked MNA.L stock was trading at 44p or so in London. Take 40p or so away from that price in the very near future. Hey Bristow, you and your disgusting company are toast, you pig.

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Peru mining security firm faces investigation


By Dana Ford

LIMA, Feb 5 (Reuters) – A Peruvian security company that works for some major international mining firms faces a congressional investigation after human rights groups accused it of beating and abusing protesters in 2005 at a site it guarded.

Recently published photos of alleged beatings of protesters caused an uproar in Peru, a leading metals exporter, where remote mines guarded by private security firms are often targets for demonstrations over the social and environmental impacts of mining.

Last month, the National Coordinating Committee for Human Rights, a leading non-governmental rights group, published photographs of men and women allegedly beaten by guards and police after a 2005 protest at the Rio Blanco mining project.

The $1.4 billion development was protected by Forza, one of Peru’s largest security companies.

“The photos clearly show that personnel of Forza played an active role in the repression and torture,” said Javier Jahncke at Fedepaz, another rights group that joined the National Coordinating Committee in filing a complaint on the case.

The National Coordinating Committee said the photos were sent by an anonymous whistleblower. One shows a man bleeding from his neck and another shows the same man a day later, dead.

Peru’s Congress said it would open an inquiry into whether crimes were committed by police and private security forces in response to a protest. Public prosecutors are already conducting their own investigation.

Forza’s press office referred Reuters to Switzerland’s Securitas which bought the Peruvian company in 2007, but an official there said Forza was in charge of handling inquiries. Reuters again contacted Forza, which declined to comment.

The images show protesters caked in blood, with hands tied behind their backs and plastic bags over their heads. A man in an orange vest with “Forza” printed on it poses in one shot, holding a gun and staring at the camera.

The mining project is owned by Monterrico Metals , which was bought by China’s Zijin in 2007.

Monterrico’s investor relations manager, Andrew Bristow, was not available for comment. But when the photographs first emerged, he said the allegations were the latest in a long list of “opposition activity” meant to derail the project.

Forza, whose clients also include major energy firms, has been investigated on a similar complaint once before, but the government dropped the case due to a lack of evidence.

Police work is underfunded in Peru and nearly nonexistent in remote areas where foreign mining companies work.

Private firms fill the void, often hiring current or former police and military personnel. Rights groups say they go beyond the law in enforcing security.

“Where there are no police, private security companies act like the police,” said Jahncke “In many cases, they push past the limit of what is legal.”

Peru has 92,000 police officers and 100,000 people who work in private security, according to a 2008 United Nations study.

Ricardo Ganiku Furugen, who heads the government agency that oversees private security firms, said he is waiting for public prosecutors to finish their investigation before deciding on whether to revoke Forza’s work permit.

“The final report will come to us and we will see then if the situation demands cancellation of the contract,” he said. (Editing by Fiona Ortiz and Kieran Murray)

dana.ford@thomsonreuters.com;

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Monterrico Metals Torture: The Peru gov’t opens its official enquiry
The Monterrico Metals Torturers: Bad news Bristow, this case is not going away

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