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Court agrees to hear IPYS action against Congress for violating transparency and access to public information laws

(IPYS/IFEX) - On 24 October 2007, Lima's 37th Civil Court agreed to hear the habeas data action filed by IPYS against Peru's Congress after the Congress refused to hand over a copy of the records of a secret plenary session it held on 6 September.

On 18 September IPYS requested a copy of the records, as it believed the session had been unlawfully classified as secret by Congress's president, abusing his power to do so, which is only applicable when issues that may affect national security and internal order are being discussed. The secret session in question had been called to debate possible sanction of a government party Congress member accused of graft.

On the same day that the tribunal notified IPYS of its agreement to hear the habeas data action, Congress formalized - 26 days after the fact - its refusal to hand over the requested information, justifying its refusal by saying that the issue discussed "had been related to Congress's Commission on Ethics" This argument is groundless, since according to the regulations governing Congress, the issues dealt with by that commission may not be debated in a secret plenary session.

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