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In July 2016, before the denunciations of the construction company Odebrecht were known, the main corruption scandal in the country was that of the Orellana network. By then, the lawyer Rodolfo Orellana had already been arrested in Colombia, and the prosecution pointed out that he was heading a gigantic criminal organization that infiltrated different State institutions. Furthermore, a year earlier he was transferred from Piedras Gordas I (Ancón) to the maximum security prison in Challapalca (Tacna) for having introduced a cell phone to his cell after bribing an INPE agent.
At that time, Orellana alleged that he did not have resources, so he was assigned a public defender. However, on July 21, 2016, the inmate surprised the money laundering prosecutor’s office with a letter in which he requested that documentation related to the search of his ‘bunker’ in San Isidro be delivered. To do this, he introduced his new defender: a 27-year-old girl who six months earlier had obtained her law degree from the Jorge Basadre Grohmann National University. Her name: Betssy Betzabet Chávez Chino.
El Comercio obtained a copy of that document, signed by Orellana from the Challapalca prison and by the current Minister of Labor and congresswoman of Peru Libre. “I appoint Dr. Betssy Chávez, with electronic box N ° 55516, as my lawyer in order to provide the facilities established by the Criminal Procedure Code,” says the official letter. In addition, this newspaper reviewed the visit record of Ester Carolina Furland, the ex-partner of the inmate who was in charge of paying US $ 1,000 to a prison agent to enter a cell phone at Piedras Gordas I, when she was being held in the Chorrillos Women’s Annex. That report states that Chávez visited her on July 1, 2016 for 3 hours and 48 minutes; that is, 20 days before Orellana’s writing.
In July this year, the portal El Foco reported that in 2016 the minister visited Orellana at least five times in Challapalca. When she was asked about it, her response was that the visits were for academic purposes and to see administrative cases, such as the entry of drugs into the prison. That time, Chávez issued a statement in which he assured that he went to the prison for a thesis that he was doing to obtain a lawyer’s degree (then he said that, in reality, it was for his master’s thesis) related to the human rights of private persons. of her freedom in the prisons of Tacna (she is from that region). “I discard any relationship or personal link with any inmate of that prison,” he said.
This week, this newspaper asked Chávez about the time in which he defended Orellana, to which she replied that she did not represent the inmate in any of his causes nor did she defend him in any hearing. “I strongly deny it,” he said. He reiterated that in 2016 he was conducting an investigation into penitentiary matters and that in that context he met the head of the alleged criminal organization. It added that, as with other inmates, “copies of their files and administrative-penitentiary issues related to the criminal execution were requested.”
“If a person interacts with people deprived of their liberty, that does not necessarily mean that they sponsor them, as is the case with me, who visited the prisons of Tacna and Challapalca for academic and humanitarian reasons,” said the minister. But she did not refer to the document in which Orellana himself presents her as his lawyer, which is also signed by her.
—Visit to Furland—
Regarding the visit she made to the inmate’s ex-partner in the Chorrillos Women’s Annex prison, the minister replied that she did so to bring him a letter from Orellana, taking advantage of the fact that she had a trip to Lima. “[Como] I had a family living in Chorrillos, it was no problem to go to the women’s prison, ”he explained.
According to Chávez, as he was developing academic activities in different prisons, “many inmates sometimes asked me for small favors such as bringing them their medicine or taking a letter to their relatives.” According to the INPE visit registry, on July 1, 2016, Chávez was the only person who visited Ester Carolina Furland. She entered the prison as a lawyer at 9:11 a.m. and retired at 12:59 p.m.
The minister denies ties with the Orellana network and asserts that the crimes of that organization occurred decades ago, “when I was a child.” According to the prosecution, the network operated from 2002 to 2014, with total impunity and in different institutions.
New restrictions to know who visits inmates
As part of its investigation, El Comercio requested months ago from INPE, by the Law of Transparency and Access to Public Information, the record of visits by Rodolfo Orellana and his sister Ludith in the respective prisons where they are held. But in September the entity responded that it was not feasible to deliver the information even though it had done so with other inmates on previous occasions.
In its response, the INPE relied on a recent ruling by the Transparency and Access to Information Tribunal in which it analyzes the denial of a request made to know the record of visits that former president Alberto Fujimori received at the Diroes detention center. .
In the resolution, the court authorizes the delivery of the information, but only in the case of visits made by “public servants and officials in the exercise of functions”; that is, such data can only be shared when visitors meet that filter. The ruling also indicates that to do otherwise would violate the inmates’ right to privacy. INPE asserted that it will act in the same way in all cases.
According to the resume that she submitted when she was a candidate for the Congress of the Republic, in 2016 Betssy Chávez was head of practices at the Jorge Basadre Grohmann National University. Also that she worked in Congress as an assistant (2017), advisor (2018) and technician (2019). He worked with the legislator Jorge Castro and for the Third Vice Presidency of the Legislature, Yeni Vilcatoma.