Shining Path founder Abimael Guzmán seeks “family visit” with lover Elena Iparraguirre

Defense lawyers for Abimael Guzman – the principal architect and strategist of Peru’s Maoist Shining Path insurgency – and his partner Elena Iparraguirre have launched a legal crusade to reunite the couple in prison.

Guzman’s lead attorney, Alfredo Crespo, contends that his clients’ rights have been “systematically violated” since his arrest in 1992, and has filed a habeas corpus against Jorge León Ballén, chief of Peru’s National Penitentiary Institute, or INPE.

In July, Ballén denied a request filed by Guzmán and Iparraguirre last November, arguing that putting them together again could not be allowed for “security reasons.”

Iparraguirre, 61, and Guzman, 74 – who have not seen each other  since 2006 – are serving life sentences at Chorrillos, and the Callao Navy Base respectively.

Guzman, a former philosophy professor, was captured by police in a luxurious upper-class Lima residence in 1992, and later exhibited publicly in a cage with a black and white striped uniform. He was then swiftly sentenced to life in prison by hooded military judges under provisions of the anti-terrorism laws that did not allow defense attorneys access to evidence or cross examination. The laws were adopted by jailed former president Alberto Fujimori’s government.

Later, in 2003, more than 5,000 individuals presented an appeal to Peru’s Constitutional Court, requesting that the verdicts against more than 1800 other prisoners convicted of terrorism, including Guzman, be voided. The Court agreed, striking down Fujimori’s anti-terrorism laws as unconstitutional.

In 2006, Guzman and Iparraguirre were again sentenced to life in prison, this time by a civilian court, and were placed in the separate prisons.

According to Peru’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, 54 percent of all deaths in Peru’s two decade-long conflict were caused by the Maoist Shining Path insurgency. Peru’s armed forces were blamed for 30 percent, and most of the rest by government-backed peasant militias.

If Peru’s conflict with the Shining Path guerrillas had been largely dormant since the once 10,000-strong Maoist rebel group crumbled in 1992, after the group’s leader and founder was arrested, recent attacks have claimed the lives of more than 20 police and soldiers. This rising death toll is largely attributed to a fresh offensive by the Peruvian military, launched last August by Peru President Alan García.

Crespo has tried to distance Guzman from the recent guerrilla attacks in Peru’s coca-growing regions, arguing that his client has repeatedly called for peace with the Peruvian government and that Shining Path remnants have set their own agenda.

Currently, the only high-profile Shining Path guerrilla leader not imprisoned is known as “Comrade Artemio.” He operates the Proseguir, or “to continue” group’s remaining 200-300 insurgents in Peru’s central jungle region.

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *