LIMA, Peru (AP) — A court in Peru has acquitted 52 Amazon natives for the murder of 12 police officers seven years ago during bloody protests against laws that indigenous groups say facilitated the usurpation of their lands for oil and timber development.
The court in Bagua also struck down charges of rebellion and causing serious injury presented by prosecutors during the years-long trial.
Officials said the 52 people of accused of shooting officers during the protests tested negative for gunfire residue. Judge Gonzalo Zabarburu said the true killers have still not been identified.
The confrontation, in which hundreds of police officers tried to remove members of local indigenous tribes blocking a highway, occurred at a remote area where the Andean foothills meet the Amazon jungle near the town of Bagua.