Juana Lazo He has not committed any crime, but his life is not very different from that of those who have. For 27 years she has lived as a prisoner in the Lurigancho prison, located in Peru. “I am imprisoned without being a criminal,” said the woman in dialogue with the local newspaper The Republic.
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At the top of Cerro Mamelón, some 250 meters away from the entrance to the penitentiary, his house lies on a 650-square-meter piece of land. At first glance, and for those who see it from afar, it seems to be one more of the constructions that are part of the prison. Unfortunately for you, it is not.
At that moment, they shouted that the hill and my house had to disappear and demolish, they threatened me
When in 1996 the National Penitentiary Institute of Peru (Inpe) decided to fence the perimeter as a solution to the increase in wards, Juana’s house ended up trapped and her freedom undermined.
“Inpe did not include my house in that perimeter, but the police officers from the prison removed the fence from the bad one and also barricaded my house,” the woman, who is currently 74 years old, told the Peruvian newspaper. Trade.
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For Lazo, the fact that his house is within the perimeter of the prison is not a simple coincidence or an arbitrary act. Behind the enclosure of the house are hidden political interests and, according to her, an insatiable desire for revenge on the part of the authorities of her country.
According to the woman’s account, a few years ago (in 1983) she witnessed the death of eight prisoners and a nun in the vicinity of the prison. Although her testimony was key for the case to be clarified, it also made her subject to reprisals by the Republican Guard, which she accused of the deaths.
“I gave my testimony to the prosecutor Mario Miranda and told them that the Republican Guard had shot. At that moment, they yelled that the hill and my house should disappear and be demolished, they threatened me,” Lazo explained to the aforementioned newspaper.
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For more than two decades, Juana must request police authorization to leave and enter the prison, despite the fact that she has not committed any crime nor is she officially incarcerated. Visits are one of the issues that cause him the most discomfort, as his guests are often objected to by prison employees.
“They can’t come to visit me because they put bars on the door to get in. Even prisoners have visitors, but they can’t visit me.”, claims in an interview with ‘La República’. Her birthdays are almost always spent alone, since her situation does not allow her to celebrate them in style, with food, many guests and gifts.
Lazo came to the house in the 1970s, after his father was appointed head of maintenance at the prison. Since then, she has known no home other than the dilapidated dwelling that was built, she says, by the Wiesse—a powerful economic group from her nation—to guard her land.
Although she currently lives alone, this was not always the case. Between fences, strict security schemes and hundreds of prisoners, Juana raised her children, who moved as soon as they had the opportunity. Against all odds, she started a family, stayed alive for several decades and exposed her case in various media.
Just a few years after three decades of her imprisonment, Juana Lazo continues to demand justice. His goal is to receive compensation from the State that allows him to leave behind the shadows of the past, buy a new house and rebuild his life.away from restrictions, fear and hardship.
“I want them to compensate me for everything they have done to me. I am not asking for relocation because I am sure that they would send me to the fifth hells”, reveals the older adult.
The massacre he says he witnessed occurred in 1983, but Lazo still fears for his life. His greatest fear is that revenge will spread and his life, lack of freedom, will end up being taken away.
(You can read: They release a woman who abused and became pregnant with a 13-year-old boy).
At the age of 74, climbing the hill and walking the 250 meters from the prison entrance to his home is becoming increasingly difficult. At each opportunity, his breath catches and his legs give way. In a few more years, he says, he won’t be able to go up to his house because of his health complications.
Tranquility is not only stolen by the fact that she is deprived of her freedom, but also by insecurity. In all the years that she has been a resident of the prison, she has been robbed at least seven times.
“It is not possible that at my age I have to go through complaints and slander. That is why I ask the authorities to reflect and not make me go through this anymore,” Juana tells The Republic.
Until she obtains compensation, the woman clings to what has been her home for more than 50 years. In accordance with Trade, In 2013, the Ministry of Justice filed a lawsuit against him to evict the house on the grounds that he had inhabited it precariously. Surprisingly, he managed to get ahead of her.
As if that were not enough, he has won two lawsuits against Inpe and currently has the advice of a lawyer to achieve her most cherished dream: obtain compensation, buy a new house and leave prison as what she truly is, a free woman.
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