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Catholic World News News Feature

Peruvian Bishops Concerned At Revocation Of Citizenship July 17, 1997

LIMA, Peru (CWN) - The Peruvian Bishops' Conference on Wednesday denounced as "illegal and dangerous" the revocation of Jewish media mogul's Peruvian citizenship.

Baruch Ivcher, an Israel-born entrepreneur who received Peruvian citizenship in 1982 in order to own a television channel, lost his citizenship after a doubtful legal move allegedly promoted by a faction within the Peruvian army. The group was allegedly affected by criticism launched by his Ivcher's network, Channel 2, the second largest in Peru. At present, Ivcher is living in Miami.

A low-ranking official of the Department for Internal Affairs announced last Sunday that Ivcher obtained his citizenship "in an irregular process," and declared it invalid. The decision, in an apparent effort to take control of the influential TV network, sparked a wave of protest and growing criticism against the government.

On Wednesday, the secretary-general of the Peruvian Bishops' Conference said, "We look with deep concern at how fast and easy such an illegal result is achieved, because it could be applied to any other foreigner, thus creating a situation of total instability. More than half of the Peruvian episcopate is composed of foreign bishops who have acquired Peruvian citizenship in order to help and serve our people." Archbishop Bembaren asked, "Does this mean that any action that is not approved of by the powerful could end in the expulsion of any of them?"

The secretary-general called on President Alberto Fujimori "to take a clear stand against this manipulation of the Peruvian legal system to serve unknown, if not vile purposes." Fujimori has distanced himself from the resolution, saying, "I don't find it quite acceptable." But, he said that he cannot intervene and that it must be discussed and solved "by the proper channels, that is to say, the Judiciary."

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