Peru Libre leader Vladimir Cerrón’s appeal denied, ordered to serve three and a half years in jail

By October 9, 2023

Lima, Peru — A judge in Peru rejected an appeal by former Junín Governor Vladimir Cerrón, who was convicted in February of corruption. The judge upheld the disgraced politician’s imprisonment, but reduced the sentence from four years to three and a half years in prison. 

Cerrón is the founder and leader of Peru’s ruling Marxist party, Perú Libre, which in 2021 brought jailed President Pedro Castillo and his successor, current President Dina Boluarte, to power.

Congresswoman Margot Palacios from the Peru Libre party stated on Friday that her caucus has had no contact with Cerrón for weeks and claimed that she does not know his whereabouts or if he is going to surrender to the authorities. She said it will be a decision that he makes alongside his defense.

The leader of Peru Libre has been missing since Friday, when his conviction was upheld. However, his lawyer has informed the press that Cerrón is in Lima and will surrender to the authorities in the coming hours.

Vladimir Cerrón has used his social media to reject the sentence, describing it as arbitrary and unjust. “What interests them the most with this arbitrary sentence are not the years of imprisonment, but the three years and six months of disqualification to run for the presidency (in 2026) in a situation where the left will win again with Peru Libre,” he wrote on “X”.

Cerrón was convicted of corruption stemming from the construction of an airfield, known as the Wanka Regional Aerodrome, while he was serving as governor in 2014. 

Read more: Vladimir Cerrón, leader of Peru’s far-left ruling party, sentenced to 4 years in prison

The Public Ministry accused Cerrón of irregularities in awarding a contract to build the new airfield in Orcotuna, Junín without the authorization of Peru’s Ministry of Economy, and despite the fact that Orcotuna already had a functional airfield. 

During the trial, the Public Ministry successfully demonstrated that Cerrón and others had conspired to approve, assess, award, and execute the contract.

In addition to the prison sentence, Cerrón is also banned from holding public office for 3 years and 6 months and will be required to pay civil reparations amounting to 800,000 soles (USD $210,000).