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Peru marchers demand legalization of death penalty

[JURIST] Thousands of Peruvians took to the streets of Lima Friday, marching and waving pictures of lost loved ones in support of a proposal to legalize the death penalty for members of the Shining Path [BBC bakgrounder] rebel group. In response to a vote last week by the Peruvian Congress [official website] indefinitely shelving new death penalty legislation [Reuters report], Peruvian President Alan Garcia [official website], who had previously called on the lawmakers to authorize the death penalty for terrorism offenses [JURIST report, press release, in Spanish] has proposed changing the constitution to allow a public referendum on the death penalty.

Polls show that re-institution of the death penalty has widespread public support, but Peruvian lawmakers are wary of breaching the American Convention of Human Rights [text], which Peru has signed. The death penalty is currently only authorized in cases of wartime treason and there have been no executions in Peru since the 1970s. BBC News has more.

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