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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 September 2005, 04:04 GMT 05:04 UK
New start for Shining Path trial
Abimael Guzman
Mr Guzman portrays himself as a leader, not a terrorist
A court in Peru has begun a second attempt to re-try the founder of the country's bloody guerrilla movement, the Shining Path.

Abimael Guzman was tried in 1992 by a secret military court and sentenced to life in prison.

Two years ago that verdict was ruled unconstitutional. A 2004 retrial collapsed when two judges stood down.

The Shining Path, a Maoist guerrilla group, waged a violent campaign to overthrow the Peruvian state.

The group is blamed for the majority of 70,000 deaths since Peru's insurgency broke out in the 1980s.

The trial is taking place at a maximum security naval base near the capital Lima.

Officials are determined to avoid any repeat of the scenes of 2004, when he and his lover, fellow commander Elena Iparraguirre, commandeered the courtroom on its opening day.

Ms Iparraguirre was later transferred to another prison.

TV crews have been banned from the courtroom this time, and the former rebel leader, who last time raised his fist and chanted communist slogans, sat quietly during Monday's four-hour hearing.

His lawyer, Manuel Fajardo, said Mr Guzman, 70, had accepted that he would receive an identical life sentence to the one he received in 1993.

"Our expectations are very limited," he told the Associated Press news agency.

He added that his client was hoping for a quick trial to avoid wasting his time.

However, proceedings are expected to last between six months and a year.

Appeal hope

Mr Guzman, a former philosophy teacher known as President Gonzalo to his followers, inspired the Shining Path throughout the 1980s until his capture in 1992.

The Shining Path used violence to try and topple Peru's government and impose what it saw as a pure form of communism on society.

A number of other leaders of the guerrilla movement, including Ms Iparraguirre, are also on trial.

Mr Guzman has admitted his central involvement with the group, but denies charges of aggravated terrorism relating to massacres, car bombings and other acts of sabotage attributed to his group.

He is hoping that a quick trial will allow him to take his case to the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, the president of the Lima Bar Association told the Associated Press.

Once his case is heard, Mr Guzman hopes to discredit Peru's judicial system and free hundreds of former guerrillas on appeal, Marcos Ibazeta said.

Last year's retrial ended in chaos 10 days after it began, when two of three judges stepped down after becoming mired in complaints about their previous involvement in rebel trials.

Peru suspends Shining Path trial
15 Nov 04 |  Americas
Shining Path retrial halted again
12 Nov 04 |  Americas
Lawyer 'barred from Peru rebel'
09 Nov 04 |  Americas
Shining Path retrial suspended
05 Nov 04 |  Americas
Profile: Peru's Shining Path
05 Nov 04 |  Americas
Country profile: Peru
29 Oct 04 |  Country profiles

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