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Peru to Review Secret Terrorism Sentences

Peru will review hundreds of terrorism sentences that were imposed by secret military courts, including a life sentence for the jailed founder of the leftist Shining Path guerrillas, officials said Wednesday. Some 410 cases will be turned over to a new national terrorism court that will decide whether the detainees will receive new civilian trials or be set free. The military courts have 10 days to send the 410 files to the civilian National Terrorism Court. That court’s president, Pablo Talavera, said the files represent more than 700 people. Among them is Abimael Guzman, 68, founder of Peru’s Maoist Shining Path rebel movement, who was sentenced to life without parole for treason. He has been jailed since 1992 in a maximum-security prison on a navy base in Lima’s port of Callao. Congress has granted President Alejandro Toledo special powers to decree new anti-terrorism legislation, primarily to guarantee that rebels did not find legal loopholes and end up back on the streets. Last month Peru published an anti-terrorism decree that upholds life sentences for serious terrorism-related crimes but allows parole after 35 years. Justice Minister Fausto Alvarado heads a commission that has until Feb. 20 to create new laws. Full Story

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