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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 August, 2003, 13:42 GMT 14:42 UK
Jailed Peru rebels end hunger strike
Elena Iparraguirre
Extracts of Iparraguirre's diary appeared in newspapers
Jailed leaders of the Maoist Shining Path guerrilla group in Peru have ended a three-day hunger strike in protest at their solitary confinement.

Group founder Abimael Guzman and his companion and deputy, Elana Iparraguirre, had said they would not eat until a 15-day isolation order was lifted.

They ended the action, at the high-security prison in the Callao naval base near Lima, after consulting their lawyers.

The two were confined to their separate cells after refusing to leave a communal courtyard area in protest at what they claimed was the theft of Iparraguirre's diary by prison officers.

Excerpts from the diary have been appearing in local papers and seem to indicate that Guzman continues to lead the guerrilla movement from his cell.

Guzman's lawyer Manuel Fajardo reportedly said the two prisoners began eating again on Monday in an "act of good faith" that prison authorities would lift the order.

However, a statement from the authorities said the ban would remain in effect, and added that both had been under medical surveillance during their hunger strike and shown no signs of failing health.

Secret trials

Guzman has gone on hunger strikes before to demand, among other things, new trials and prison transfers for jailed rebels.

Head of the Shining Path rebel movement Abimael Guzman
Guzman and Iparraguirre have been in prison since 1992
He and Iparraguirre were sentenced in 1992 to life imprisonment in secret trials conducted by hooded military judges, when the then President Alberto Fujimori spearheaded a major crackdown against the rebels.

The Peruvian authorities have since ordered that they be retried in a civilian court.

At least 30,000 people were killed during the Shining Path campaign to overthrow the government in the 1980s and early 1990s.

The violence has dropped off significantly since Guzman was captured in 1992.

But the kidnapping of workers of a natural gas pipeline in June and the ambush of a marine patrol which left seven dead in July have raised fears that the guerrillas are moving into a new phase of violence.

Peruvian rebel faces retrial
21 Mar 03  |  Americas
Retrial for Peru Shining Path rebel
21 Nov 02  |  Americas
Analysis: Peru's Shining Path
11 Jun 03  |  Americas
Peru's violent past
21 Mar 02  |  Americas
Analysis: Peru confronts the past
10 Apr 02  |  Americas

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