International PEN welcomes the release pending trial of the 20-year-old poet Melissa Rocío Patiño Hinostroza, who was released from maximum-security prison on May 8, after 70 days’ detention. However, Patiño still faces up to 20 years in prison for her alleged involvement with a left-wing political organization that the Peruvian government claims is linked to terrorist groups. The authorities have still not produced any concrete evidence to back up these charges. PEN calls on the authorities either to substantiate the charges against Patiño and ensure that she receives a fair trial or to drop the case.

Background Information

The poet and university student Melissa Rocío Patiño Hinostroza was released from the Santa Monica maximum-security prison in Chorrillos, Lima, on the evening of May 8, 2008, after almost two and a half months’ incarceration. Patiño, 20, was allowed to return home on payment of 1,000 Soles (about 186 Euros) bail. She remains on trial on terrorism charges and, if convicted, could face a prison sentence of up to 20 years.
The poet is a member of the Círculo del sur poetry group in Lima and runs a poetry radio program and other cultural activities with young people. She was arrested with six other individuals in Tumbes, a small border town on the border of Ecuador, on February 29, 2008. Patiño was subsequently charged with being an accomplice to terrorism on the basis of her attendance at the congress of Bolivarian Continental Coordinator (CCB), which the Peruvian authorities claim is linked to terrorist groups in Peru and abroad. The poet denies being involved in any political groups, and has said that her main motivation for attending was the opportunity to travel to Ecuador.

Peru’s antiterrorist prosecutor, Julio Galindo, reportedly intends to appeal the decision to release Patiño.

Write A Letter

  • welcoming the release pending trial of the young poet Melissa Rocío Patiño Hinostroza;
  • calling on the Peruvian authorities to provide evidence to back up the charges of terrorism against Patiño and ensure she receives a free and fair trial;
  • alternately, to drop all charges against her.

Send Your Letter To

Dr. Alan García Pérez
Presidente de la República del Perú
Jr. de la Unión S/N 1ra. Cuadra, Cercado de Lima
Lima, Peru
Fax: +51 1 311 3940
>> Send a message online
Salutation: Su Excelencia/Your Excellency
Minister of Justice
Dra. Rosario Fernández Figueroa
Ministra de Justicia
Ministerio de Justicia, Scipión LLona N° 350, Miraflores
Lima, Peru
Fax: + 51 1 422 3577
Salutation: Señora Ministra/Dear Minister

Human Rights Ombudsman
Dra. Beatriz Merino
Defensoría del Pueblo
Jirón Ucayali 388
Lima, Peru
Fax: +51 1 426 7889
Please send also appeals to diplomatic representatives of Peru in your country.
Please send appeals immediately. Check with PEN if sending appeals after June 12, 2008.