Death squad Peruvian gets 12 months

A Peruvian allegedly linked to paramilitary death squads who tortured and killed civilians in the South American country in the 1980s and 1990s has been jailed for 12 months.

Rodrigo Grande Vargas, 47, was arrested by counter-terrorism officers who raided his home in Tiverton, Devon, in March. He was jailed at Exeter Crown Court for possession of a fake passport, found by the police officers during the raid. The court heard it was a real passport belonging to a Spaniard, which had his own photo crudely placed on top of the real one.

Grande Vargas is linked to activities carried out in the early 1990s by government-backed paramilitary death squads who tortured and murdered left-wing guerrillas in Peru. He arrived in the UK in 2002. The court heard he is likely to be deported after completing his sentence. Grande Vargas listened to proceedings through a Spanish interpreter.

The prosecutor, Ann Reddrop, told the court that he came to the UK seeking asylum, which was rejected. Sentencing him, Judge Philip Wassall accepted that the passport had never been used. "It was only when the police attended your home to arrest you for crimes committed in Peru and the property was searched that the passport in question came to light," he said. "Your reason for holding on to it is unclear, as is your reason for obtaining it in the first place."

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