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Peru guerilla leader Guzman sentenced to life imprisonment for terrorism

[JURIST] Peruvian rebel leader Abimael Guzman [MIPT profile] was found guilty of aggravated terrorism Friday and sentenced to life in prison by a Peruvian civil tribunal in Callao. Guzman founded the Shining Path [BBC backgrounder] guerilla movement in 1980 and was blamed for tens of thousands of deaths over the group's twelve years of activity. Guzman's lover and second-in-command Elena Iparraguirre [MIPT profile] was also sentenced to life in prison. AP has more. Guzman's lawyer stated that the court's decision was based "not on law but on politics" and plans to appeal [Aljazeera report].

In 1992 a Peruvian military tribunal convicted Guzman of inciting and leading a Maoist insurgency under strict anti-terror laws imposed by former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori [BBC profile; JURIST news archive]. Following the collapse of Fujimori's government in 2000 those laws were repealed, however, and in 2003 a high court ruled Guzman's trial unconstitutional, ordering a retrial [JURIST archive]. At the outset of the latest proceeding, Guzman declared that he is not a terrorist but a "revolutionary combatant" [JURIST report].

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