LIMA – The court proceedings on the 1992 Tarate terrorist car-bomb attack in Peru, in which 25 people died, was suspended on Tuesday because of the absence of the main defendant, the founder of the Shining Path guerrillas, Abimael Guzman, due to illness.
Judge Rene Martinez ordered the hearing suspended until Feb. 28 at the request of the 82-year-old Guzman’s attorneys, Alfredo Crespo and Manuel Fajardo, who demanded that their client be taken to a hospital for medical treatment.
Guzman’s wife and former No. 2 Shining Path guerrilla, Elena Iparraguirre, told the judge that for several months she has been asking for her husband to be taken to a hospital to receive a specific diagnosis.
“We’ve been giving him fluids intravenously for a month and his problem has not gotten better,” said Iparraguirre regarding the diarrhea from which Guzman is evidently suffering.
The judge ordered the medical board at the Legal Medicine Institute of the Attorney General’s Office to provide a report on Guzman’s health as quickly as possible.
The founder of the rebel organization is serving a life sentence for terrorism at the Callao Naval Base and is incarcerated there and isolated from the other prisoners, among whom are the leaders of the MRTA guerrillas and former intelligence adviser Vladimiro Montesinos.
Crespo told the judges that his client “needs to converse with his fellow defendants about their joint defense strategy because this is a political organization which has gone into all the trials with a single position.”
The Shining Path leaders who are on trial for the attack include Guzman, Elena Iparraguirre, Oscar Ramirez, Eleuterio Flores, Osman Morote, Margot Liendo and Victoria Cardenas, among others.
Prosecutors are requesting life in prison and the payment of 400,000 soles ($121,000) in civil reparations for the perpetrators of the car-bomb attack on a residential building in Lima’s Miraflores district.
Two months after the Tarata attack, Guzman and his closest collaborators were captured by Peruvian police in a house in Lima.
The court is also bringing the guerrilla leaders to trial for drug trafficking due to the presumed protection they provided to narcotics organizations in the Peruvian jungles starting in the 1980s.