Peru Tightens Prison Security After Outburst at Rebels' Trial
By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
LIMA, Peru, Nov. 7 - Peruvian officials on Sunday tightened security at the prison where some of the country's top rebel leaders are being held.
They clamped down after President Alejandro Toledo said Saturday in a speech that he wanted to accelerate the trial against Abimael Guzmán, the imprisoned leader of the Maoist Shining Path rebel group, and that he wanted a new judge to try the case.
Mr. Guzmán, 69, was sentenced to life in prison in 1992 by a military court, but the sentence was overturned last year by Peru's Constitutional Court, which ruled that the secret military court had been illegally constituted.
Mr. Guzmán's retrial opened Friday in a courtroom in the maximum security prison at the Callao naval base west of Lima, where he and other Shining Path leaders are being held. But it was quickly halted and postponed for a week when the 18 defendants raised fists and began shouting "Long live Peru's Communist Party!" "Long live the armed struggle!" and "Glory to the Peruvian people!"
Mr. Toledo condemned the event as a "shameful spectacle." The "arrogant" behavior "cannot go unanswered," he said.
Mr. Guzmán faces 30 charges relating to terrorism and crimes against humanity.
Measures taken Sunday include an end to face-to-face personal visits. Visitors and lawyers must now communicate with inmates only via telephone and can see them only through a glass window. Mr. Toledo also ordered that Mr. Guzmán and other imprisoned Shining Path leaders be placed in solitary confinement.
Prosecutors are seeking a life sentence for Mr. Guzmán, who led 7,000 Shining Path fighters in a guerrilla war in the 1980's and 1990's. They are accused of being responsible for nearly 70,000 deaths.