Portsmouth activist’s burnt body found in Peru hostel

A RELIGIOUS activist from Portsmouth has been found burned to death in Peru, it has been reported.

Wednesday, 3rd April 2019, 7:03 pm
Updated Wednesday, 3rd April 2019, 7:07 pm
Paul McAuley Picture: www.lasalle.org

Paul McAuley, who was born in Portsmouth and attended St John’s College, had been living in the Amazon for the past 20 years and his body was found in a hostel in the city of Iquitos, which he founded for indigenous students in the Amazon city.

Local media reported the 71-year-old’s body had been burned. He was part of the religious order, La Salle Christian Brothers.

Translated from Spanish, a spokeswoman from La Salle said: ‘The Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools communicates and regrets the death of our Brother Paul McAuley, who was found dead on Tuesday, April 2 in the Community Student Intercultural "La Salle" of Iquitos, Peru, where he worked for more than 10 years. 

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Iquitos, Peru in the middle of the Amazon rainforest

‘We have been informed that the Peruvian authorities are investigating the circumstances of their death. We are waiting for more information. We feel united with the Peruvian church, with the Bolivia - Peru district and with all the Lasallians. Rest in peace.’

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Mr McAuley fought off an expulsion order from the Peruvian government in 2010 after moving to the country in 1995. 

At the time, Brother Paul had been dubbed a ‘Tarzan agitator’ for his work which included protecting the rainforest, protesting plans to sell off the Peruvian rainforest to oil, gas and ethanol companies and helping indigenous people living within the Amazon understand and use their rights.

His work was recognised by the Queen, who awarded him an MBE.

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