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Last Updated:  Friday, 21 March, 2003, 17:14 GMT
Peruvian rebel faces retrial
Head of the Shining Path rebel movement Abimael Guzman
Civilian judges will preside over Guzman's retrial
Peruvian officials have ordered a retrial for the head of the Shining Path rebel movement Abimael Guzman.

Civilian judges will preside over the trial which is to be held in public between September and November.

The rebel leader was sentenced to life in prison by a military tribunal behind closed doors in 1992.

Age 68 and reportedly frail, he is being held in a high security prison at the naval base in Callao, west of the capital Lima.

The government has annulled the verdicts of about 400 terrorism-related trials carried out by anonymous judges during the 1990-2000 administration of President Alberto Fujimori.

Guzman's lover

In November, a court ordered a new civilian trial for a Shining Path leader and lover of Abimael Guzman, Elena Iparraguirre, who was imprisoned in 1992 charged with treason.

The annulments follow the constitutional court's ruling that many of the hearings had been unconstitutional.

Elena Iparraguirre
Guzman's lover Elena Iparraguirre will also be retried
The 1979 constitution - which was in effect at the time of Ms Iparraguirre's and Mr Guzman's trial - only allowed civilians to be tried in military courts if the country was at war.

The Shining Path which began as a reform movement in the early 1980s aimed to create a new social order in Peru.

By the end of the decade it was considered to be the most formidable insurgent movement in South America with an estimated membership of 10,000.

It controlled large areas of the countryside and established a reputation for murder and destruction.

About 30,000 Peruvians are believed to have died in the conflict.

In 1992, the Shining Path was dealt a severe blow when Abimael Guzman was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment.

Over the next five years former President Fujimori spearheaded a major crackdown against the movement.


SEE ALSO:
Analysis: Peru confronts the past
10 Apr 02 |  Americas
Peru's violent past
21 Mar 02 |  Americas


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