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Peru president proposes referendum to introduce death penalty for terrorists

[JURIST] Peruvian president Alan Garcia [official profile, Spanish; BBC profile] Thursday proposed a national referendum [press release, in Spanish] on introducing capital punishment for convicted terrorists after a legislative proposal [JURIST report] to that effect was defeated 49-26 in the Peruvian Congress [official website] on Wednesday. Garcia described the defeat as one contrary to the will of the Peruvian people, and "[it was his] duty to fulfill what [he has] promised... in [his election] campaign." Political observers believe that Congress is unlikely to support the referendum proposal, which itself requires the approval of Congress. Congressional opposition to the proposal cite the American Convention on Human Rights [text], which Peru has signed and ratified, prohibiting signatories from introducing or expanding the application of the death penalty. Capital punishment is currently only authorized in cases of wartime treason in Peru.

The capital punishment proposal was part of Garcia's election platform. Since the 1980s, Peru has faced an insurgency from the Shining Path [Global Security backgrounder; BBC backgrounder] a Maoist organization designated in the US as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) [US Department of State list]. Reuters has more.

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