Peru president plans to publish list of pardoned inmates convicted of terrorism

President Alan García plans to publicly identify hundreds of Peruvians who received pardons for terrorism convictions during Peru’s internal armed conflict — a move many say is a smoke screen to distract attention from mounting attacks by guerrillas in league with drug traffickers.

“I’m going to make public a list of 1,800 terrorists so people know exactly who their neighbors are and what they are doing,” García told reporters. “We can’t allow these ex-convicts to leave jail and begin causing problems in the streets by radicalizing protests and recreating semi-terrorist or terrorist groups. As much in the highlands as in some universities.”

But human rights groups say Garcia is only trying to stoke public opinion to obscure his government’s failure to stem the growing drug trade in Peru’s Amazon jungle, where remnants of the Maoist Shining Path insurgency have allied themselves with cocaine traffickers.

Recent roadside ambushes and a brazen attack on a police station by guerrillas claimed the lives of five officers.

Thousands of Peruvians were rounded up and wrongly convicted in kangaroo courts during the height of political violence in the 1980s and early 1990s.

Willy Ruiz Figueroa, lawyer for the human rights group Hope and Peace Association, called Garcia’s plan, “a desperate decision by the government in the face of these attacks on the national police.

He added the measure “will endanger the freedom of many people, many of whom were innocent.

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