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Last Updated: Friday, 12 November, 2004, 22:28 GMT
Shining Path retrial halted again
Abimael Guzman in court, with his lover and co-defendant Elena Iparraguirre
Guzman (right) chanted Communist slogans at the first hearing
The retrial of Abimael Guzman, Peru's notorious rebel leader, has been suspended for the second week running without charges being read out.

State prosecutors called for two judges to be removed from the trial, while a third judge asked to quit.

Former philosophy teacher Mr Guzman, 69, led the left-wing Shining Path guerrillas during two decades of violence that left 70,000 people dead.

He was convicted by a military court in 1992 but now faces a civil retrial.

The opening of the trial a week ago was adjourned when Mr Guzman and 18 fellow defendants effectively hijacked the courtroom and began chanting left-wing slogans for the benefit of journalists' cameras.

After receiving heavy criticism for their handling of the first hearing, the panel of three judges banned cameras from the courtroom.

Recording equipment was also banned in an effort to ensure the second hearing passed off smoothly.

Judicial embarrassment

But instead state prosecutor Edgar Chirinos called for presiding judge Dante Terrel to resign, claiming he failed to restore order at the first hearing.

ABIMAEL GUZMAN
Formed Shining Path movement in the 1970s
Launched insurgency in rural areas in 1980
70,000 killed in terror and counter-terror campaigns
Arrested and judged by military panel in 1992
Life sentence overturned by constitutional court in 2003
Mr Chirinos described the events of the first hearing as "shameful" and claimed they had shaken public faith in Peru's judiciary.

Amid the confusion another judge, Carlos Manrique, surprised the court by admitting he had presided over previous rebel trials that might affect his impartiality.

After he asked to quit, Mr Chirinos called for the third judge, Jose de Vinatea, to be excused because of his involvement with similar rebel cases.

The trial was suspended until next Monday without the charges against Mr Guzman and other defendants being read out.

The BBC's Hannah Hennessy in Lima says the adjournment is the latest embarrassment for a judicial system struggling to shake off criticisms of political bias and allegations of corruption.

Last year, a Peruvian truth commission officially blamed the Shining Path for 54% of the deaths and disappearances that ensued during the movement's years of violent insurgency.

Mr Guzman was originally sentenced to life imprisonment in 1992 by a military court presided over by hooded judges.

The trial was ruled unconstitutional last year and a retrial was ordered.




SEE ALSO:
Lawyer 'barred from Peru rebel'
09 Nov 04 |  Americas
The day the Maoists went to court
06 Nov 04 |  Americas
Shining Path retrial suspended
05 Nov 04 |  Americas
Profile: Peru's Shining Path
05 Nov 04 |  Americas
Peru bounty on Shining Path rebel
30 Apr 04 |  Americas
New 'Shining Path' threat in Peru
19 Apr 04 |  Americas


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